YORK, PA - The York College men's basketball team used another all-around solid game to post a 72-63 Capital Athletic Conference win over Hood College on Saturday afternoon at Wolf Gymnasium. The victory is the sixth straight for the Spartans as they improve to 13-7 overall and 8-3 in the CAC. The Blazers fall to 12-8 overall and 4-7 in the league.
The game started off slowly on the offensive end as neither team broke into the scoring column in the first 2:34 of play. Spartan junior Jeremy Skoloda split a pair of free throws followed by a Justin Stone lay up to get the scoring started. With the Spartans up 8-6 after an Adrien Strough lay up, the Spartans fashioned a methodical 12-2 run, kicking their lead to 12 at 20-8.
The Spartan lead grew to a half-high 15 on a pair of Paul Kouvaris free throws with 3:32 left in the half. The Spartans then went ice cold from the field while the Blazers got a little something going prior to the break. Hood went on a 9-0 spurt as the Spartan lead was trimmed to just six. The Spartans got back a little momentum just before the half as Julian Watson hit a tough runner in the lane with five seconds left, giving York a 33-25 lead at the intermission.
York came out of the break and scored on consecutive possessions as Mo Oursler canned a three and Watson hit a jumper, extending the lead to 13. After a series of back and forth possessions, the Spartans put together a 7-0 spurt, pushing the lead to 16 at 49-33.
The York advantage remained in double figures until late in the game when a pair of Jordan Diggs free throws cut the Spartan lead to single digits at 58-49 with just 3:40 remaining. That began a run of seeing the Blazers cut into the Spartan lead only to have York answer back from the free throw line.
The Spartans were not exactly perfect from the stripe in the later stages of the game but they made enough to preserve the win. The Blazers trimmed the Spartan lead to five on a Diggs lay up with 52 seconds left in regulation. Oursler then drained both of his attempts at the line after getting fouled, pushing York's lead back to seven. The Green and White got a stop on the ensuing Hood possession and junior Mitch Kemp hit three of four free throws over the final 33 seconds to salt away the win.
Watson paced the Spartans as the junior point guard tallied 18 points in addition to grabbing four rebounds. Watson gave the Blazers problems all day when he penetrated into the heart of the Hood defense. He was 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-4 at the free throw line. Kouvaris was honored prior to the game for reaching the 1,000-career point milestone earlier this year and he chipped in with 17 points and five rebounds for the Spartans. He was 6-for-10 from the floor and 5-for-6 at the charity stripe. Junior Todd Maciejewski recorded his third career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Maciejewski was a sharp 4-for-6 from the floor and 3-for-7 from the free throw line. Oursler was the fourth Spartan in double figures with 12 points.
Stone paced Hood as the forward had 12 points, seven rebounds, and a game-high six steals. He was 5-for-11 from the floor but just 2-for-8 from the free throw line. Ramon Smith came off the bench to contribute 11 points in 14 minutes.
The Spartans shot 46.9% from the floor in the win. York struggled from distance, only making 4-of-14 from deep. The Green and White finished the game shooting a respectable 71% from the free throw line.
Hood shot almost an identical 46.3% from the floor while they made just 2-of-10 from beyond the arc. The Blazers, much like they have been all year, were hampered by poor free throw shooting as they converted a mere 52.4% of their 21 attempts from the charity stripe.
The Spartans forced 20 Blazer turnovers, turning them into 24 points.
The Spartans now take to the road to face St. Mary's College in a key conference contest. Tip time at St. Mary's City is set for 8:00 pm.
Julian Watson photo courtesy of Theresa Dark - Athletic Communications Student Photographer