YORK, PA-The York College men’s basketball team kept on rolling with an important 79-73 Capital Athletic Conference win over St. Mary’s College on Saturday afternoon at the Grumbacher Center in York. The Spartans, winners of seven straight, improve to 16-6 overall and 11-2 in the CAC while the Seahawks fall to 11-11 overall and 6-7 in the conference.
The game began with the two teams taking turns making small runs before the play finally settled down midway through the half. The Seahawks held a 12-10 lead on a Mike Fitzpatrick lay up just under seven minutes into the game. The Spartans recaptured the lead on a Levi Winters (Manchester, Pa./Northeastern) three as the Spartans would hold the lead the remainder of the half. York’s bulge grew to as many as eight at 26-18 before the Spartans settled for a 40-35 halftime lead.
The Seahawks came out of the break strong as they hit York with a 15-6 run that gave the guests a 50-46 lead 6:29 into the half. The Spartans recaptured the lead on a Nate Lankford (York, Pa./West York) three and a Chad McGowan (Dallastown, Pa./Dallastown) lay up. That began a stretch of seven lead changes and five ties as the teams battled to pick up the important conference win. The final tie of the game came when McGowan hit a free throw with 2:19 remaining. That freebie tied the game at 69 and set the stage for an exciting final two minutes of the game. After St. Mary’s called a timeout and had an unsuccessful possession, McGowan converted a jumper with 1:35 left, giving York a 71-69 lead. The Spartans added to the lead 49 seconds later as Winters hit a clutch jumper from the top of the key with the shot clock running down to take a 73-69 lead. Tyson Lesesne answered with a tough lay up with 33 seconds left, cutting the Spartan lead to two. A St. Mary’s foul sent Lankford to the line where the senior buried both pushing the lead back to four. The Spartan defense got another stop and McGowan was fouled with 18 seconds left. The senior All-American converted both to give York a 77-71 lead. The Seahawks used 14 valuable seconds to get a Mike Bowden bucket, cutting the Spartan lead to 77-73. The Spartans used a St. Mary’s time out to draw up a hail mary that Winters threw to McGowan who finished the game off in impressive style with a crowd-pleasing jam that sent the Spartan fans home happy.
McGowan led the Spartans with a game-high 26 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Those were good for his team-leading eighth double-double of the year. McGowan was 10-for-21 from the field and 6-for-11 from the free throw line. He also handed out four assists in addition to three blocked shots and three steals. Winters added 20 points, four rebounds, five steals, and two assists in his 37 minutes of work. Sophomore Nick Brady (Hanover, Pa./Delone Catholic) was the third Spartan in double figures with 11 points and a career-high tying seven rebounds. Lankford chipped in with nine points, three assists, two rebounds, three steals, and a pair of blocked shots.
Lesesne and Calvin Wise paced the Seahawks with 16 points each. Lesesne added five assists, three rebounds, and three steals as Winters did a good job on one of the most dangerous players in the CAC. Lesesne was 7-for-14 from the floor and 2-for-3 from three. Wise added six boards as he was 8-for-12 from the floor. Alex Franz contributed 10 points, five assists, five rebounds and a steal while Alex Irmer chipped in with 10 points and nine rebounds for the Hawks. Bowden pulled down a team-high 11 rebounds for St. Mary’s while he also had six points.
The Spartans finished the game shooting 41.4% from the floor including 5-for-14 from three. It is the first time in the last four games that York has shot under 50% and it is the first time since the Messiah game that York has shot under 47% for a game. St. Mary’s finished the game shooting 45.7% from the floor but the Hawks went just 4-for-16 from deep. The Spartans held a significant edge at the free throw line as they went 16-for-22 (72.7%) while St. Mary’s got to the line just seven times, making five.
The Seahawks handled the Spartans on the glass as they held a 47-38 advantage. That led the Seahawks to a 50-40 edge in points in the paint and a 22-11 margin in second chance points. The nine rebound deficit for the Spartans ties a season-high for the green and white. York forced 22 St. Mary’s turnovers which led to 25 Spartan points. Conversely, York had just 12 turnovers that led to 13 Seahawk points.
York remains a game and a half up on Mary Washington in the race for the regular season championship and the top seed in the upcoming CAC tournament. The Spartans get their league bye on Wednesday night and will return to action a week from today as they host Wesley College on Feb. 16 at 2:00 pm. The game will be preceded by the 2008 Senior Day ceremony as York’s four seniors will be honored for their contributions to the Spartan program.
Chad McGowan photo courtesy of Eric Linsley