December 30, 2008

Tough First Half Sinks Spartans

   YORK, PA-The Bridgewater College Eagles posted their fourth straight victory as they notched a 71-62 non-conference men’s basketball win over York College on Tuesday night at the Grumbacher Sports & Fitness Center in York. The Eagles improve to 6-4 win the win while the loss was the Spartans’ third straight as they fall to 3-7 for the campaign.
    The first half was a rough one for the Spartans as they could not get shots from the field to fall. The hosts held a 6-4 lead before D.J. Billups hit a lay up that kick started a 19-3 run that gave the Eagles a 23-9 lead. An Andrew Pawlyk (Bernville, Pa./Tulpehocken) lay up stopped the run but that bucket was just the third basket from the field as York was a paltry 3-for-17 from the floor through the first 13 minutes of the game.
    The Eagles extended the lead to 16 at 29-13 with 4:04 remaining in the half as they looked like they were going to turn the game into a blowout. Much to the credit of the young Spartans, the green and white outscored Bridgewater 12-2 to close out the half as they trimmed their halftime deficit to six at 31-25.
    The statistics from the opening half were not pretty for the hosts. The Green and White were 5-for-23 from the field, good for a success rate of 21.7%. The Spartans kept themselves in the game at the free throw line where they converted a blistering 15-for-16 from the line.
    The next 20 minutes saw the Spartans get close but not close enough. The Green and White cut the lead to 33-31 as Justin Reavis missed a pair of free throws but the Eagles got an offensive rebound and a big three from Dominic Trawick. After a quick Spartan turnover, Michael Oblitey hit a fast break lay up to push the lead to 38-31 in the span of 24 seconds.
    York was not deterred as they trimmed the lead to two on four different occasions but each time, the Eagles would respond and keep the Spartans at bay. The Spartans’ final two point deficit came at 48-46 with 7:42 left. However, Trawick hit a pair of free throws and Robert Rice canned a three and the Eagle margin jumped to seven with less than seven minutes left in the game. The hosts cut the lead to five two more times in the game but would be unable to get any closer as the Eagles enjoyed a significant advantage at the free throw line in the second half. Bridgewater tallied just eight field goals in the second half but converted 22-of-33 second half free throw attempts to seal the win.
    The Eagles were led by Trawick as he poured in a game-high 17 points despite battling foul trouble in the first half. The junior guard was 4-for-13 from the floor but did convert 8-of-10 at the free throw line. He added five rebounds and two assists in the game. Reavis came off the bench to chip in with 11 points, eight rebounds, and four steals for the visitors. Rice was the third Eagle in double figures with 10 points including three triples for the evening.
    York also placed three players in double figures led by junior captain Nick Brady (Hanover, Pa./Delone Catholic) and freshman forward Paul Kouvaris (Baltimore, Md./Cardinal Gibbons) as they each tallied 15 points. Brady was 4-for-9 from the field but 7-for-8 from the stripe. He also pulled in six rebounds and handed out a pair of assists. Kouvaris was 3-for-5 from the field but 9-for-10 from the free throw line. He also pulled in five rebounds for the Spartans. Junior captain Jeremy Keefer (Palmyra, Pa./Palmyra) added 10 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Eight of Keefer’s 10 points came in the second half.
    York finished the game shooting 38.2% after they converted 50% of their attempts in the second half. York failed to make a three pointer as they went 0-for-10 from distance in the game. The Spartans shot 76.9% from the free throw line (20-for-26) for the game.
    The Eagles shot 40.4% from the field including six threes in the game. Bridgewater finished the game shooting 63.9% (23-for-36) from the stripe.
    The Green and White out-rebounded the Eagles but Bridgewater got a number of key second-half rebounds as they had 10 offensive rebounds in the second 20 minutes of play, many after the Spartans had gotten a key defensive stop forcing a tough Eagle field goal attempt.
    The Spartans did a poor job of taking care of the ball as the Eagles forced 22 Spartan miscues that turned into 29 Bridgewater points.
    York returns to action on Saturday evening as they host the Hampton Inn Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. The men’s program has combined with the women’s squad for the eight-games-in-two-days event. The Spartan women host Buffalo State on Saturday at 4:00 pm. That game will be preceded by the women from Franklin & Marshall taking on their counterparts from North Park University in Chicago at 2:00 pm. The Spartan men then host McDaniel College at 6:00 pm followed by Alvernia University and Penn State-Behrend at 8:00 pm in Saturday’s final game. The tournament continues on Sunday after noon with action kicking off at 12:00 pm.

GAME BOX

Nick Brady photo courtesy of Steve Doemland