Strong Second Half Lifts Spartans to Victory

YORK, PA – The York College men's basketball team used a dominating second half performance to record an 82-68 Capital Athletic Conference win over Marymount University on Saturday afternoon in York. The Spartans, winners of two straight, improve to 5-2 overall and 2-0 in the league while the Saints, losers of five straight, fall to 2-5 overall and 0-2 in the conference.

The Spartans struggled to shoot the ball in the opening 20 minutes of the half. They began the contest shooting 3-for-13 from the floor but somehow had managed to tie the Saints at eight on an Andrew Pawlyk three-point play. The Spartans received a huge boost when junior Mitch Kemp entered the game and drained a trio of three pointers in five possessions for York. Kemp's personal nine point run was a huge part of a 10-4 Spartan spurt that turned a two-point deficit into a four-point lead. The Saints battled back and forged a seven point lead thanks to a 12-3 run. That spurt left the Saints with a 30-23 lead and left the Spartans looking like they were on the brink of being handed a second straight home loss.

York showed a significant spark prior to the break and it started with senior Mo Oursler. With fellow senior Paul Kouvaris shooting the second of two free throws, Oursler followed a Kouvaris miss with a tip in and a foul. Oursler then completed the three-point play with a free throw as the Spartan deficit was just three with 2:20 left in the half. Oursler's great hustle play kick started a half-ending 9-2 burst that allowed the Spartans to take a 34-32 lead at the break. York garnered the halftime lead despite shooting just 34.4% from the floor.

The second half started with the Saints regaining the lead and holding an early three point advantage. The Spartans tied the game for the eighth and final time on a pair of Kouvaris' free throws with 15:15 remaining in the game. The Spartans pushed the lead to four before the Saints trimmed it to one on a Reed Scott bucket at the 10:21 mark. After a well taken Spartan time out, York fashioned a game-changing 11-2 spurt that pushed the York lead to 10 at 65-55 with 7:02 left.

The Saints made one last charge at the Spartans, cutting the lead to five twice before a Pawlyk bucket kicked the lead back up to seven (71-64) with 4:38 remaining. Pawlyk's basket started another 11-1 run that put the game away for York. The Spartans pushed the lead to as many as 16 before settling for the 14-point conference win.

York held the Saints to just 36 second half points and 41.4% shooting in the stanza. Conversely, York shot a blistering 57.1% in the second stanza. The Spartans also dominated on the glass in the second 20 minutes as they held a 21-10 margin on the glass.

Pawlyk came off the bench to record a career-high 17 points on an impressive 6-of-8 shooting including a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line. Pawlyk added five rebounds in his 23 minutes of work. Kouvaris added 14 points and five rebounds as he was limited to 22 minutes of action due to foul trouble. He went 3-for-7 from the floor and 8-for-12 from the free throw line. Kemp finished with 12 points coming on four three-point baskets. He also had six rebounds and two assists for York. Juniors Julian Watson and Todd Maciejewski each contributed 11 points for the Spartans. Watson was huge for York as he scored all 11 points in the second half while healso had a career-high seven rebounds to go along with four assists and only one turnover in his 34 minutes of action. Maciejewski pulled in six rebounds and also had two assists for York.

The Saints were led by sophomore standout Scott as he poured in 16 points to go along with a game-high 11 rebounds, nine of which came in the first half.  Scott was 7-for-14 from the floor while he also had a trio of blocked shots for Marymount. Jesse Konadu contributed 15 points to the Saint attack while Mac Kennedy was the third Saint in double figures with 12 points.

The Spartans finished the contest shooting 45%, a very respectable number considering their first half shooting struggles. The Spartans canned 6-of-12 from distance while they went 22-of-32 (68.8%) from the free throw line. Marymount shot 42.9% from the floor while they struggled from distance, converting just 3-of-13 (23.1%) from beyond the arc.  The Saints converted just 17-of-26 from the line in the loss.

York held a 44-31 rebounding edge over the taller Saints. Seventeen of the Spartans' 44 total rebounds came on the offensive side which led to 19 second chance points. The Spartan bench, led by Pawlyk and Kemp, outscored their Marymount counterparts 29-11.

The Spartans return to action on Wednesday night when they host St. Mary's in another big Capital Athletic Conference contest. Tip time at Charles Wolf Gymnasium is set for 8:00 pm.

Andrew Pawlyk photo courtesy of Zach Clabaugh (www.sharpedgefoto.com)