SWARTHMORE, Pa. – Franklin & Marshall fell just short in a heart-breaking 50-49 loss to Johns Hopkins in the semifinal of the Centennial Conference (CC) men's basketball tournament Friday evening. F&M dropped to 20-5 while the Blue Jays improved to 21-4 and will face Swarthmore in tomorrow night's championship game.
F&M went ahead early with a 6-0 lead three minutes in and increased their lead to nine, 17-8, with 6:35 left in the first. A jumper from J.C. McGrath made it 21-9 with a little less than five to go and the teams went into the break with F&M leading 25-15.
Johns Hopkins netted eight straight to start the second and come within two, before taking their first lead of the game four minutes, 33-31, at 13:38. F&M answered with a 9-0 spurt for a seven-point, 40-33, lead. The Blue Jays responded with six straight to come within a point.
Two lead changes and two ties ensued over the next five minutes with F&M leading 49-47 with 58 ticks on the clock. Hopkins hit one-of-two from the line to come within one and after a turnover by F&M, the Blue Jays went ahead 50-49 with 33 seconds left. F&M came up empty on its next trip down the court and Hopkins was able to run out the clock to secure the win.
Matthew Tate led F&M with 15 points, hitting 5-for-8 from the floor. Brandon Federici had 13 and Lionel Owona finished with six points and five rebounds while Ignas Slyka recorded five points and four rebounds.
Hopkins had a slight 40-39-percent edge in shooting while rebounds were even at 28-28.
F&M will have to wait until Monday's selection show to see if they can get one of 21 at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament. The show begins at 12:30 p.m. and can be viewed here.