YORK, PA-The York College men’s basketball team celebrated senior day in fine fashion as the Spartans extended their win streak to eight with an 84-77 win over Wesley College in Capital Athletic Conference action on Saturday. With the win, the Spartans capture the top seed in the upcoming CAC tournament with their 12-2 league mark. The Spartans have a two game lead with two games remaining in the season and they also hold a tiebreaker with second place Mary Washington. York is now 17-6 overall after starting the season 1-3. The Wolverines, who are the last team to beat York, fall to 12-10 overall and 7-6 in their first year in the green and white.
The Wolverines came out and took it to the Spartans early in the game. After York tallied the opening bucket of the game, Wesley outscored York 17-6 to take the nine point lead less than seven minutes into the game. The Wolverines held onto the lead over the next eight minutes but the green and white outscored Wesley 16-6 during that stretch to take a 24-23 lead on a Chad McGowan (Dallastown, Pa./Dallastown) basket at the 5:15 mark. After McGowan’s basket, there would be six lead changes and three ties over the final five minutes of the half as the two teams struggled for momentum. The Spartans got a McGowan lay up with 37 seconds left in the half to take a two point lead but Evan Martin answered with a lay up at a tough angle with just two seconds left in the half as the teams went to the break tied at 34.
Each team scored four points to open the second half and the game was tied for the final time at 38 on a Rashawn Johnson free throw just under two minutes into the half. The Spartans then fashioned a 15-0 run that covered 5:06 and gave the green and white control of the game. The run was kicked off by a pair Levi Winters (Manchester, Pa./Northeastern) triples, continued with five points from McGowan and then closed out with a Pat Kelley (Davidsonville, Md./River Hill) lay up and a Nate Lankford (York, Pa./West York) jumper. Soon after, the lead grew to 16 on a McGowan three-point play but the Wolverines, much to their credit, did not go away.
Wesley trimmed York’s lead to eight four times over the next 10 minutes of the game. The final time came with 59 seconds left as Alphonzo Wright drained a pair of free throws to trim the York lead to 80-72. The Spartans then missed a pair of free throws and Johnson further cut into the lead with his fourth triple of the game. Sophomore Nick Brady (Hanover, Pa./Delone Catholic) was fouled and drilled both free throws to push the lead back to seven at 82-75. Wright cut it back to five with two more free throws of his own with 35 seconds left but Brady and McGowan each split a pair of free throws in the closing seconds, providing for the final Spartan margin of victory.
McGowan made his final regular season appearance at Wolf Gymnasium a memorable one as he netted a career-high 37 points while he also pulled in 12 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the year. McGowan was 13-for-19 from the floor and 11-for-17 from the free throw line. He handed out two assists, had one steal, and one big-time blocked shot near the end of the game that brought the crowd to its feet. The 37 points eclipses his previous career-high which was 34 and came on December 2, 2006 at Salisbury University. Brady had a solid game with 17 points, five rebounds, two assists and a pair of steals. Brady made two threes and was a strong 7-for-8 from the free throw line. Lankford, playing in his final regular season home game, added 12 points, seven assists, three rebounds and a trio of steals to the Spartan attack. Winters chipped in with 10 second-half points as his two threes kick started the game-changing run for York. Winters added six rebounds and a pair of assists for the green and white. Kelley added a strong defensive effort including seven rebounds as he continues to work back from his serious ankle injury from earlier in the year.
Johnson led the Wolverines with 28 points as he was 10-for-22 from the floor including 4-for-9 from three. Johnson, who entered the game tied with McGowan as the conference’s top scorer, added nine rebounds, two assists and three steals in his 37 minutes of action. James Stratton added 20 points for the Wolverines as he was 7-for-16 from the field including 4-for-12 from three. Stratton also had three rebounds, four assists and a steal for Wesley. Khyle Nelson finished the game with a double-double as he had 10 points and a team-high 10 rebounds despite just playing 22 minutes due to first half foul trouble.
The Spartans finished the game shooting 51.7% from the floor and 33.3% from three. The green and white went 19-for-31 for the game from the free throw line. Wesley shot 35.6% from the field and 9-for-28 (32.1%) from three. The Wolverines were a bit better than York at the free throw line as they went 16-for-24 (66.7%). The Wolverines, for the second time this season, held an edge on the glass as they out-rebounded York 46-44 for the game. That advantage led to Wesley’s 30-11 edge in second chance points but York finished the game with a big 42-22 advantage in points in the paint.
The win gives York at least a share of their third regular season championship in the last four years. If the Spartans capture wins in one of their final two games, they will own the regular season title outright.
The Spartans conclude their regular season with a pair of road games as they head to Gallaudet on Wednesday night and Marymount a week from today. Tip time on Wednesday from Washington, D.C. is set for 8:00 pm while next Saturday’s game begins at 4:00 pm.
Chad McGowan photo courtesy of Eric Linsley