GRANTHAM, PA - The York College men’s basketball team saw their perfect start come to an end on Saturday evening at Messiah as the Falcons handed the Spartans their first loss of the season, 77-69, at Brubaker Auditorium. The Spartans fall to 5-1, matching their best start in school history, while the Falcons improve to 4-1 for the campaign.
The start of the game was delayed for an hour, as the officials were late in arriving at the gymnasium. The two teams dealt with the delay differently as York remained on the floor shooting casually while the Falcons headed back down to the their locker room during the duration of the delay.
The first half was a rough on for the Green and White. Neither team could get a rhythm going after the 55-minute delay to the start of the game. There was just five total points scored in the opening five minutes of the game. The Falcons eventually opened up a six-point bulge as they lead 20-14 on a Tyler Ritzman three with 9:32 left in the half. The Spartans eventually tied the game at 21 on a Jeremy Skoloda (Leola, Pa./Conestoga Valley) triple with 6:53 left in the half.
After Skoloda’s three, it was all Falcons during the remainder of the first half. A 13-2 Messiah run pushed their lead to 36-25 with 1:19 remaining in the half. The Spartans cut the lead to 38-29 but Josh Hartman hit a layup just before the end of the half to extend the lead back to 11 at 40-29.
Messiah pounded York on the boards in the first half, finishing with a 19-9 edge on the glass while the Falcons shot 51.9% from the floor and a blistering 8-for-9 from the free throw line. The Spartans converted just 46.2% from the floor while they took just four free throws in the half, making three.
Much like in the exciting win over Gettysburg on Tuesday, the Spartans fell behind by as many as 14 points as the Falcons held a 45-31 lead just 1:50 into the second half. Just like Tuesday, the Spartans turned up the defensive pressure to get themselves back into the game. York began a run with back-to-back threes from Kevin Whaley (Dover, Pa./Dover) and Nick Brady (Hanover, Pa./Delone Catholic) followed by a Whaley lay up as York cut the lead to six at 53-47 with 12:21 left.
However, the Falcons responded by pushing the lead back into double figures. That would prove to be a theme as the Spartans would cut into the Falcon lead only to have the hosts build it back up. York never led in the contest as the Spartans tied the game twice during the first half but never held a lead during the game.
Messiah kept the lead in the high single digits until the Spartans cut the Falcon advantage to two at 62-60 with just 3:41 left. The Falcons got a huge offensive rebound and a traditional three-point play off the ensuing second chance to push the lead back to five. A Jeremy Keefer (Palmyra, Pa./Palmyra) basket cut the lead back to three at 65-62 but that is as close as the Spartans would get the rest of the way as Messiah hit it’s free throws down the stretch. Messiah went 8-for-8 over the final 41 seconds to secure the win and provide for the final eight-point margin of victory.
All five Falcon starters reached double figures led by Jamie Yoder as the guard notched 16 points to go along with six rebounds and three steals. Hartman added 14 points including a perfect 7-for-7 performance from the charity stripe. Kyle Snyder recorded a double-double with 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Snyder also had four assists and four steals in his 31 minutes of action. Chris Yoder contributed 12 points, six assists and three rebounds while Colton Reitz chipped in with 10 points and four rebounds.
The Spartans were led by Brady as the senior guard poured in a game-high 24 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the floor including 2-of-6 from three. Brady drained 8-of-10 from the charity stripe while he also had six rebounds and two assists. Whaley was the other Spartan in double figures with 14 points, five rebounds, and four steals. Paul Kouvaris (Baltimore, Md./Cardinal Gibbons) led York on the glass with eight rebounds in addition to six points while Skoloda contributed nine points and a pair of assists.
The Spartans finished the game shooting 37.7% from the floor including just 32.6% in the second half. York went a chilly 5-for-22 (22.7%) from three but did convert 12-of-14 (85.7%) from the stripe.
Messiah held a significant edge at the free throw line as the Falcons went 24-for-28 from the stripe in the game. The Falcons shot 50% from the floor for the game but just 29.4% (5-for-17) from three.
The Falcons ended the game holding a 38-32 edge on the glass while the Spartans forced 18 Falcon turnovers, which York converted into 17 points.
The Spartans, who tied the 2004-05 and 2005-06
teams for the best starts in school history at 5-1, return to
action on Wednesday evening when they host PSU-Abington in a
non-conference contest at Wolf Gymnasium. Tip time is scheduled for
Nick Brady photo by Scott Guise