Spartans Fall to Salisbury in CAC Duel

YORK, PA – The York College men's basketball team dropped a 77-70 result to Capital Athletic Conference foe Salisbury, Saturday afternoon at York's Grumbacher Sport & Fitness Center. The loss drops the Spartans' record to 3-11 (1-4 CAC) while the Sea Gulls improve to 5-8 (2-2 CAC).
     The game opened at a frenetic pace as both sides pushed a feverish tempo. However, that tempo resulted in strikingly few points as both sides had difficulty getting into the flow of the contest. The Spartans built a four-point advantage at 8-4, 4:43 into the game before Salisbury knotted the score at 8-8 2:53 later.
     After the Spartans took a 12-11 lead with 10:50 to go in the first, the Sea Gulls rallied, captured the lead, and pushed it to as much as seven.  Each time the Spartans would cut into the visitor’s advantage, Salisbury came back and extended their margin once again.
     With the Spartans finding themselves down seven in the closing seconds of the half, Spartan junior Jeremy Keefer (Palmyra, Pa./Palmyra) knocked down three of his career high 26 points, sending the Green and White into the locker room down a manageable four at 32-28.
     At the intermission, the Green and White had posted a 12-for-33 shooting effort resulting in 36.4 percent while the Sea Gulls hit 14 of their 30 shots from the floor good for a shooting percentage of 46.7.
     The blistering pace slowed only slightly in the second frame as both squads continued to try to out-race the other. York fought back from down four at the half to up one at 35-34 with 15:21 remaining, which turned out to be the Spartans’ final lead of the game.
     Salisbury regained the lead at 36-35 less than a minute later on a Drew Dickson lay-up. The Sea Gulls only relinquished the lead once at 11:38 mark when the Spartans tied the game at 43.
     Knotted at 43 the Spartans had the ball with the opportunity to gain the lead but took a difficult, contested shot that caromed off the iron and into Salisbury’s awaiting hands. On the visitors’ ensuing possession, Devin Jones, who would score a game-high 27 points, canned a trey to regain the lead at 46-43 with 11:04 remaining.
     Six minutes later, the Spartans found themselves down six with 5:22 left in the game. Still within reach, junior guard Nick Brady (Hanover, Pa./Delone Catholic) and freshman forward Paul Kouvaris (Baltimore, Md./Cardinal Gibbons) hit a pair of jumpers to slice the Salisbury advantage to a mere two with 4:24 left to play.
     As occurred nearly the entire game, Salisbury answered quickly to stretch their lead once again as Jones nailed another triple only ten seconds after Kouvaris’ bucket.
     The Spartans would cut the lead to four on two separate occasions in the game’s final minutes, scoring ten points over the final 2:17, but were simply unable to catch the Sea Gulls. Salisbury’s near flawless execution from the charity stripe down the stretch, hitting 9-of-10 from the line over the final 1:10, iced the contest for the visitors.
      Salisbury’s hot first half shooting only bettered in the second frame as the Sea Gulls hit 14-of-23 attempts from the floor for a scorching 60.9 percent. Overall, Salisbury converted at a rate of 52.8 percent, going 28-for53 from the floor. York hit 26-of-70 shots for 37.1 percent on the afternoon. York controlled the rebounding advantage, collecting 42 boards to Salisbury’s 34, while simply dominating on the offensive glass with 20 caroms. Those 20 offensive rebounds led to 26 second-chance points for the Green and White, but was simply not enough to shift the game over to the home side.
     Keefer, who seemed to take on a more aggressive role in the offensive, paced the York side with his career-best 26 points nailing 10-of-19 from the floor and 5-of-8 from the stripe. The junior also collected nine rebounds with six coming on the offensive end. Freshman Julian Watson (Odenton, Md./Arundel) chipped in with eleven points while Kouvaris tallied ten for the Spartans.
     Jones led all scorers with 27 points on 7-for-11 shooting, including an unconscious 5-for-5 from behind the arc and 8-for-8 from the free throw line. Mann tallied 15 points and four assists while Greg Palmer was the third Sea Gull in double-figures with 12 on the afternoon.
     The Spartans will look to get back into the win column on Wednesday, January 14, when they take on the Seahawks of St. Mary's College of Maryland. Tip-off from York is slated for 8:00 pm.


Jeremy Keefer photo courtesy of Steve Doemland