COLLEGEVILLE – Despite a valiant effort, the Ursinus men's basketball team dropped its second-straight game to a nationally-ranked opponent as they were downed by No. 11 Swarthmore 78-61 on Wednesday night in Centennial Conference play at Helfferich Hall.
With the loss, the Bears fall to 8-5 overall and 5-3 in Centennial Conference action. Meanwhile, the Garnet improved to 15-1 overall and maintain first place in the Centennial with a 9-0 record in conference.
Senior Ryan Hughes posted his fourth-straight 20+ point game with a game-high 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Sophomore Trevor Wall added 16 points, with 14 coming in the first half, along with five rebounds and two assists.
Ursinus opened the game fast with four-straight points in the opening minute of action to take the early lead. The Garnet responded with 10-straight points of their own to take a 10-4 advantage at the 17:15-mark. Wall and Hughes combined for the Bears next six points as they rallied to cut the deficit down to 12-10 just under two minutes later, but Swarthmore powered their way to a double-digit lead at 22-12 at the 11:48-mark following a 10-2 burst. The Bears continued the early trend of long team runs with 14 unanswered points and took the lead back at 26-22 with 8:06 remaining in the first half. Ursinus held Swarthmore without a point for a span of 3:48 while going 5-of-6 from the field during that stretch. The Garnet ended the run with five-straight points of their own to go up 27-26 before senior Peyton Vostenak nailed a three-pointer to put the Bears back in front at 29-27 with 6:58 left in the first half. The Garnet rallied to take the lead back at 35-31, but Ursinus refused to back down as they responded yet again, this time with seven-straight points to go up 38-35 with just under two minutes left until halftime. Swarthmore made a three-pointer at the 1:11-mark of the first half which left the score tied at 38 into halftime.
For the second-straight game, the Bears found themselves tied at halftime with a nationally-ranked opponent. The teams traded baskets in the opening minutes of the second half and the Bears took the lead for the first time in the final 20 at 43-42 on a three-pointer from freshman Marlin Wise at the 17:14-mark. However, the tide began to turn as the Garnet reeled off eight-straight points to go up 50-43 at the 13:51-mark. Ursinus battled back to cut the deficit down to three points at 54-51 with 9:57 remaining in regulation, but the Garnet took full control of the game with a 16-4 run to go up 72-55 at the 3:17-mark. Swarthmore did not let their lead fall below 13 points for the remainder of the contest and held the Bears without a field goal for a span of 5:18.
The Bears shot 38.6 percent (22-of-57) from the field after shooting just 27.6 percent in the second half. Ursinus went 7-of-25 (28%) from beyond the arc and 10-of-15 (66.7%) from the free throw line. Rebounds and second chance points hurt Ursinus for the second-straight game as the Garnet held a sizable 51-33 overall advantage and a 21-6 offensive rebound advantage on the glass which led to a 16-5 edge in second chance points. Meanwhile, the Garnet shot 39 percent (30-of-77) from the field and 30.8 percent (8-of-26) from three-point range. Swarthmore went a solid 10-of-12 (83.3%) from the free throw line as well.
Conor Harkins led the Garnet with a team-high 17 points behind going a sizzling 5-of-7 from three-point range. George Visconti followed with 15 points (11 in the second half), five rebounds, and four assists while Ryan Ingram paced the offense with a game-high seven assists. Aidan Godfrey posted a double-double behind 13 points along with 10 rebounds and Michael Caprise hauled down a game-high 16 rebounds.
The Bears return to action on Saturday, January 22nd as they will travel to face McDaniel at 2 p.m.