YORK, PA-The York College men’s basketball team suffered a tough 74-68 loss to Hood College in the Capital Athletic Conference opener for both teams on Wednesday at an energized Grumbacher Center in York. The Blazers improve to 4-2 overall and 1-0 in the league while the Spartans, who have lost two straight home games, fall to 1-3 overall and 0-1 in the conference.
The game started off a very frenetic pace as the two teams raced up and down the floor. The game was tied at nine before the Blazers hit back-to-back three pointers to take the 15-9 lead with 14:52 left in the half. Hood eventually pushed the lead to eight, at 22-14, before the Spartans used an 11-3 run to tie the game at 25. With 1:37 left in the half, senior Chad McGowan (Dallastown, Pa./Dallastown) tied the game at 27 with a pair of free throws after Jesse Gutekunst hit a lay up to put Hood up two. Those two free throws kicked off another spurt that saw the Spartans score nine of the final 12 points of the half as they led 34-30 at the break.
The Spartans maintained their lead over the first 10:42 of the second half. Anthony Bennett tied the game at 46 with a lay up. That lay up started a six minute stretch where the lead changed hands six times with three ties. The final tie came at 61 when McGowan converted an old-fashioned three point play 3:25 left in the game. The Blazers then seized control of the game with a 12-2 run that turned the tie into a 73-63 Hood lead with 18 seconds left in the game. The Blazers salted the game away at the free throw line, converting 7-of-8 freebies over the final 1:33 of play.
Gutekunst led the Blazers with a double-double of 15 points and 16 rebounds. He was 6-for-11 from the floor including one three while he was 2-for-2 from the line. He also chipped in with a pair of assists and three blocked shots. Bennett was huge for Hood as he tallied a team-high 19 points as he was 5-for-9 from the floor, 3-for-4 from distance, and 6-for-6 at the charity stripe. Ryan Junghans, the Blazers’ leading scorer was held to 10 points while he had two assists and a pair of steals.
McGowan led the Spartans as he recorded a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds. McGowan was 8-for-15 from the floor and 5-for-9 from the line. He blocked a pair of shots while he also had an assist and a steal. Senior Nate Lankford (York, Pa./West York) added a career-high 17 points while he also had seven rebounds and six assists with no turnovers in 35 minutes of play. Lankford was 5-for-8 from the floor, 3-for-3 from distance and 4-for-6 from the line. Senior Levi Winters (Manchester, Pa./Northeastern) added 14 points, six rebounds and a pair of assists for York. Winters’ also played well defensively as he harassed Junghans into 3-for-10 shooting from the floor.
The Spartans finished the game shooting 39.4% from the floor and just 26.9% from three. The green and white again struggled from the charity stripe as they went 9-for-17 from the free throw line, good for a paltry 52.9% accuracy mark. Hood converted 46.6% from the field including 42.1% (8-for-19) from three. The Blazers were excellent from the free throw line as they went 12-for-14, good for a mark of 85.7%. York outrebounded the Blazers 41-38 for the game while both teams took care of the ball. York had just seven turnovers while Hood committed eight.
The Spartans return to action on Saturday when they travel to Villa Julie to face the Mustangs in a Capital Athletic Conference contest. Game time at VJC is set for 4:00 pm.
Nate Lankford photo Courtesy of Eric Linsley