January 22, 2011

Cold Shooting Hampers Spartans in Loss to Marymount

YORK, PA – The York College men's basketball team suffered their worst shooting game of the year as the Marymount University Saints edged the Spartans 61-60 in a Capital Athletic Conference upset on Saturday in York.

The Spartans, who had won three straight coming into the game, fall to 12-6 overall and 6-3 in the conference while the Saints improve to 4-14 overall and 2-7 in the CAC.

The Spartans got a game-high 18 points from senior Kevin Whaley but the Green and White could not overcome 30.8% shooting from the floor for the game.

York got off to an awful shooting start as they converted just two of their first ten attempts from the field. That slow start enabled the Saints to take a 15-5 lead just over seven minutes into the game. The Spartans crawled their way back into the contest but it could have happened much quicker as York went just 1-for-6 from the free throw line in the opening ten minutes of the game. The Spartans took their first lead of the game on a Whaley triple with 7:27 remaining in the opening half. There would four lead changes and two ties over the final 7:02 of the half as the teams went to the intermission locked in a 25-25 tie.

The Spartans shot just 29.6% in the first half, their third-lowest first-half field goal percentage of the year. York was 8-for-27 from field and 3-for-10 from three. The Spartans also converted just 50% (6-for-12) from the free throw line. The saving grace for the Spartans came in the form of 17 Saint turnovers for the opening half, keeping York from trailing after 20 minutes of play.

The Saints came out of the break and hit the Spartans with a quick 6-0 spurt to take a 31-25 lead. York cut the lead to two on an Andrew Pawlyk lay up but the Saints scored eight of the next 11 points in the game, taking a 39-32 lead with 13:40 left in the game. The Marymount lead vacillated between three and eight points over the next seven minutes before the Saints increased the lead to 10 at 51-41. The lead remained around ten until the Spartans began to mount a comeback. York fashioned a 14-4 run kick started by a pair of Paul Kouvaris lay ups with just over five minutes left in the game. Kouvaris ended the run with another lay up with 1:47 left, drawing the Spartans to within one at 59-58. The Saints' Tarek Ammoury gave the guests a two-point lead at 60-58 with 47 ticks remaining. Kouvaris came up big again ten seconds later as he tied the game with a pair of free throws as the Spartans found themselves in position to get a stop and win the game.

Ammoury worked his way to the foul like as he beat the Spartan defense before being fouled with 8.0 seconds on the clock. The junior sunk the second of two free throws to give the Saints a one-point lead. The Spartans inbounded the ball and point guard Julian Watson streaked down the right side of the floor. He got to the basket but his game-winning attempt slid off the rim and the Spartans could not control the rebound in the scrum underneath the basket as the final horn sounded.

Freshman Reed Scott led the Saints with 16 points on a very efficient 7-for-8 from the field including 2-for-2 from the charity stripe. Scott also pulled in six rebounds in his 37 minutes of work. Ammoury added 12 points, five rebounds, and four assists for the Saints. He was 4-of-14 from the floor and 4-of-6 from the free throw lin in the win. Mac Kennedy was the third Saint in double figures with 10 points while he also had three rebounds in 19 minutes of action.

Whaley paced York with his 18 points. He was 4-for-11 from the floor including 1-for-5 from three. Whaley made 9-of-12 from the free throw line while he also had five assists, five steals, and a pair of blocks in the game. Kouvaris chipped in with 14 points, five rebounds, three steals and two assists in his 30 minutes of action.

The Spartans finished the contest shooting the season low 30.8% while they were equally cold from three hitting just 5-of-21 (23.8%), their second-lowest shooting percentage from distance for the year. York did finish the contest shooting 69.7% from the free throw line including making their last 13 in a row to end the game.

Marymount shot a blistering 59% from the floor in the game including 50% (3-for-6) from three and a robust 85.7% (12-for-14) from the charity stripe.

The Saints outrebounded the Spartans 32-25 for the game while Marymount also held a tremendous 36-16 edge in points in the paint. The Spartans forced the Saints into 24 turnovers but York was only able to convert those miscues into 15 points. 

The Spartans now take to the road for a pair of CAC contests in the upcoming week. York travels to CAC newcomer Frostburg on Wednesday night for an 8:00 pm game. The Spartans then trek to Hood to face the Blazers next Saturday in a key league tilt.

PAUL KOUVARIS PHOTO COURTESY OF ZACH CLABAUGH (www.sharpedgefoto.com)