YORK, PA-The York College
men’s basketball team opened up their 2008-09 season with a
tough 71-57 setback to Neumann College in the opening round
of the White Rose City Classic in York on Saturday night. The
Spartans fall to 0-1 with the setback while the Knights are 1-0 and
playing Susquehanna University, a 76-67 winner
over Misericordia, for the tournament title on Sunday
The Spartans, who feature a large cast of newcomers after graduating four key players last year, got off to a slow start. Fortunately for York, Neumann also struggled to score early on in the game. With the contest tied at eight with 12:36 remaining in the half, Neumann put together a 9-0 spurt keyed by a pair of three pointers from Mike Walukiewicz. The Spartans were able to trim their deficit to four courtesy of a Julian Watson (Odenton, Md./Arunel) three and an Andrew Pawlyk (Bernville, Pa./Tulpehocken) lay up with 8:40 left in the stanza. The Knights maintained their lead between four and eight points until York cut the lead to three on a Bennett Foelber (Sykesville, Md./Century) lay up with 3:36 left. The Knights responded with a 7-2 run to end the half as they led York 32-24 at the break.
The Spartans shot a dismal 22.6% from the floor from the first half while Neumann converted 48% (12-for-25) of their attempts from the floor.
The Knights came out of the break much like they headed into it, on a roll. Neumann opened the second half with a 15-3 run that blew the game wide open. That run to start the half combined with the run at the end of the first half was 22-5 and turned a three point Neumann edge into a 20 point bulge.
Much to York’s credit, they battled when the game could have easily gotten further out of hand. York worked to trim the 20 point deficit down to nine at 59-50. Freshman Paul Kouvaris (Baltimore, Md./Cardinal Gibbons) hit a jumper in the paint with 5:34 left, cutting the Knights’ lead to 60-53 but Na’Sheed Linton converted a traditional three point play to put the Knights up 10 with 4:37 remaining in regulation. York would not get closer than eight the rest of the way as Neumann made enough plays down the stretch to hold off the green and white.
The Spartans finished the game shooting a paltry 27.4% from the floor and a down right cold 11.8% (2-for-17) from three. The Spartans did make 21-of-33 from the free throw line for the game. Neumann shot 52.8% from the floor for the game while they nailed 7-of-16 (43.8%) from distance in the win. The Knights struggled from the free throw line as they made just 8-of-15 from the stripe.
The Knights were led by Marquise Boggs as the guard had 14 points, eight rebounds, and three assists. Sean Armstrong was the other Knight in double figures with 10 points. Patrick O’Connor and Walukiewicz each contributed nine points to the balanced Neumann attack. Linton added nine assists, five rebounds, and four points in his 37 minutes of action.
The Spartans were paced by a pair of freshman as Watson and Kouvaris each made strong debuts in the green and white. Watson tallied a team-high 13 points with four steals and one rebound. Watson was 5-for-8 with a three and two free throws. Kouvaris chipped in with 12 points and nine rebounds in his first collegiate game. Junior captain Jeremy Keefer (Palmyra, Pa./Palmyra) was the third Spartan in double figures with 10 points while he also had nine rebounds.
Neumann held a 38-26 edge in points in the paint while York had a 14-3 edge in second chance points. York dominated the glass as they had 45 rebounds to 35 for the Knights.
In the second semifinal, Joel Patch had a double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds to lift Susquehanna to a win over Misericordia. Spenser Spencer added 21 points to the Susquehanna crusade while Hunter McKain chipped in with 14 points. Dom Del Prete led the Cougars with 20 points while Vinny Baumunk added 10 points and nine rebounds. Robbie Johnson (16 points) and Ethan Eichhorst (11 points) were the other Cougars to reach double figures.
Sunday’s action kicks off with York facing Misericordia in the tournament consolation game at 1:00 pm. Susquehanna and Neumann will then square off for the tournament championship at 3:00 pm.
Julian Watson photo courtesy of Eric Linsley.