YORK, PA – Junior guard Julian Watson paced four Spartans in double figures as the York College men's basketball team notched a 71-63 victory over Salisbury University in Capital Athletic Conference action on Saturday afternoon in York. The Spartans improve to 9-7 overall and 4-3 in the CAC while the Sea Gulls drop to 2-4 in the league and 9-6 overall.
The game was very choppy offensively on both sides early in the contest as the Spartans led 7-6 with 11:40 remaining in the opening half. The scoring picked up slightly as the half progressed as play was very even as the first half featured ten lead changes and three ties. The Sea Gulls took their final lead of the game with Elijah Gore three pointer with 6:07 left in the stanza. The Spartans then embarked on a 13-2 run fueled by Watson as the Spartan guard had six points during the spurt. The Sea Gulls scored the final five points of the half to trim York's lead to 30-26 at the break.
The Green and White came out of the break and smacked the Gulls with a 19-4 run that changed the tenor of the game. The run pushed the York lead to 19 at 49-30 with 13:03 remaining in regulation.
The York lead would reach 19 for a second time at the 5:42 mark. Salisbury slowly started the chip away at the Spartan advantage over the final five minutes of the game. Salisbury drew to within nine at 65-56 with 1:39 left. Senior Mo Oursler hit a runner in the lane to push York's lead back to 11 but a three pointer from Tim Harwood and a lay up by Mike Maczko cut York's advantage to six with 32 seconds left. Watson would then make four trips to the free throw line in the final 26 seconds to salt the game away for York.
Watson was 5-for-10 from the floor and 9-for-12 from the free throw line en route to his season-high tying 19 points. He added three rebounds, three steals and two assists in the win. Oursler continued his recent outstanding play as the guard tossed in 18 points and five rebounds. Oursler was 6-for-10 from the field including 4-for-7 from three and 2-for-4 from the free throw line. Junior Todd Maciejewski contributed 14 points and two steals in his 22 minutes of work. Senior Paul Kouvaris, the CAC's leading scorer entering the game, chipped in with 11 points, three rebounds, and two blocked shots. Junior Jeremy Skoloda handed out a team-high four assists while he also collected five rebounds.
In all, the Spartans had eight players reach the scoring column.
Salisbury was paced by Maczko as the senior recorded a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. He was 7-for-12 from the floor including 2-for-2 from three and 2-for-2 from the free throw line. Harwood contributed 17 points and seven assists while Jason Nwosu was the third Sea Gull in double figures with 14 points.
The Spartans shot 54.5% for the game including 45.5% (5-for-11) from three in the win. The 54.5% accuracy mark is the Spartans highest shooting percentage since York shot 56.9% against LaRoche on December 13. The Green and White shot 69.2% (18-for-26) from the free throw line.
Salisbury shot 47.9% from the floor and a blistering 57.1% (8-for-14) from three. Harwood converted 4-for-5 from three to help the Gulls boost their shooting from distance. Salisbury was nearly perfect from the free throw line as they nailed 9 of their 10 attempts.
The Spartans forced 21 Salisbury miscues and they took advantage of those mistakes to the tune of 27 points.
The Sea Gulls edged the Spartans on the glass, 26-25, as York was outrebounded for just the fourth time this year. Ironically, York is 3-1 when losing the battle on the glass with the lone loss coming against nationally ranked Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
The Green and White returns to action on Wednesday evening as they host Stevenson University in CAC contest. Tip time at Wolf Gymnasium is set for 8:00 pm.
Julian Watson photo courtesy of Mike Zortman.