CHESTER, PA – The York College
men’s basketball team used a 63 point second half to post a
91-77 victory over Delaware Valley opening round of the Oki Data
Americas Tip-Off Tournament hosted by Widener University in
Chester, PA. The Spartans pick up their first win of the year, as
they are now 1-2. Delaware Valley falls to 0-2.
The game featured two distinctly different halves. The Aggies carried the play in the opening 20 minutes while the Spartans totally controlled the second stanza to turn an 18-point deficit into a 14-point win.
The first half was even for the first seven minutes as the teams were tied at 12. That’s when things started going downhill for the Green and White. The Aggies fashioned a 25-7 run that covered just over nine minutes. It gave Delaware Valley a 37-18 lead with 4:25 left in the half. The Spartans scored seven straight points as Paul Kouvaris (Baltimore, Md./Cardinal Gibbons) hit a pair of free throws followed by a three-point play by Jeremy Keefer (Palmyra, Pa./Palmyra). Sophomore Dylan Hoffman (Dallastown, Pa./Dallastown) capped the run with a pair of free throws with 3:21 left in the half. Delaware Valley scored four of the final six points of the half to take a 41-28 lead to the break.
The Aggies built their halftime advantage courtesy of strong shooting from distance as five of their 15 field goals came from beyond the arc while York was 0-for-3 from downtown. The Spartans shot 37% from the floor in the opening half while DVC converted 41.7% of their attempts from the floor.
The second half saw the Spartans begin their comeback with a Julian Watson (Odenton, Md./Arundel) jumper to start the half. York opened the stanza with a 22-11 run that turned their halftime deficit into their first lead of the night at 50-49. The lead went back and forth for the next two minutes before the Green and White took the lead for good on a Watson jumper with 12:51 remaining in regulation. That bucket kick started an 11-0 run that gave the Spartans a 64-54 lead with 10:19 left. The Aggies’ James Jones trimmed the Spartan lead to seven at 66-59 but York responded with seven straight points to push the lead to 14 with 6:55 remaining in the game. Delaware Valley worked their deficit down to 10 twice over the final six minutes of the game but each time the Aggies cut into the lead, the Spartans responded with an answer. After trailing by 18 points in the first half, the Spartan lead grew to as many as 16 in the second half before settling for the 14 point win.
Junior captains Nick Brady (Hanover, Pa./Delone Catholic) and Keefer came up huge in the win. Brady tallied a career-high 27 points on 11-of-18 shooting including 3-of-4 from three. Brady also had five rebounds and three assists. Keefer recorded a pair of career-highs as he tallied 24 points and pulled down 18 rebounds. Keefer was 11-for-17 from the floor in addition to converting a pair of free throws. He also handed out four assists in the win. Watson recorded the first double-double of his young collegiate career as he had 12 points and dished out 11 assists while he also pulled in six rebounds in 40 minutes of action. Fellow frosh Kouvaris was again solid with 12 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots. Hoffman was the fifth Spartan in double figures with 11 points while he also had six assists, four rebounds, and three blocked shots.
Jones led the Aggies with 19 points in 29 minutes of action. Jason Seipt added 12 points, nine rebounds, nine steals, and seven assists as he filled up the stat sheet in the loss. Cam Prince chipped in with 13 points while Jason Goldheimer was the fourth Aggie in double figures with 10 points.
The Spartans finished the game shooting 54.2% from the floor in the game including 68.8% in the second half. York converted 4-of-8 from three and a very solid 23-of-28 (82.1%) from the free throw line. The Aggies shot 34.6% from the field for the game including just 28.6% (12-for-42) in the second stanza. DVC went cold from distance in the second half as they converted just 2-of-17 in the second 20 minutes to drag their percentage down to 24.1% (7-for-29) from downtown for the game.
Delaware Valley forced 26 Spartan turnovers that they turned into 24 points. The Aggies recorded 20 steals in the game while York managed just three. The Spartans did handle the Aggies on the glass as they finished with a 45-37 margin on the boards.
The Spartans will now face #23 Widener University in the championship game on Saturday at 3:00 pm in Chester, Pa. The Spartans and Pride are squaring off for the first time since Widener knocked the Spartans out of the NCAA Tournament on March 4, 2006.
Jeremy Keefer photo courtesy of Eric Linsley