YORK, PA – The York College men's basketball squad saw their regular season home slate come to a close with a tough 68-65 loss to Wesley College in a key Capital Athletic Conference contest on Wednesday night.
The loss drops the Spartans into a tie with Wesley for fourth place in the CAC. York is now 14-10 overall and 9-6 in the CAC while the Wolverines are 11-13 overall and also 9-6 in the league.
The evening began with the Spartans' seniors being honored as a part of Senior Night ceremonies. York then got off to a great start in the game as the Spartans sprinted out to a 12-2 lead. Seniors Adam Earle, Paul Kouvaris and Mo Oursler were responsible for the run as they tallied all 12 points. Earle started the scoring with a fast break lay up. Oursler drilled a three followed by a Kouvaris fast break lay up as the Spartans led 7-0. After a Wesley basket, Kouvaris scored again before Oursler canned another triple to give York the 10 point lead.
The Wolverines clawed their way back into the game with a 12-4 run midway through the half, trimming the Spartan lead to two at 23-21 with 6:38 left. The Spartans responded with a 10-2 spurt, pushing the lead back to 10 with 1:44 remaining in the stanza. The Wolverines used the final 1:20 of the half to dig into the Spartan lead as they outscored their hosts 8-2 during the critical junction, cutting York's halftime lead to just four at 35-31.
The second half continued the back-and-forth play that took center stage late in the first half. The Wolverines tied the game at 42 on a Paul Reynolds' lay up at the 12:44 mark and then took their first lead of the game on a Devon Davidson bucket just over two minutes later.
The two teams continued to go back and forth as the next seven minutes of play featured four ties and three lead changes. The Wolverines seized the lead for good on a Nick Guidry triple with 3:09 remaining in the game. A pair of Reynolds' free throws pushed the lead to five with 1:44 remaining in the game.
The Spartans wouldn't be able to cut into the five point lead as they missed three pointers on their next two possessions but fortunately, the Wolverines weren't converting their chances on their ensuing possessions. York's Julian Watson hit a lay up with 24.9 seconds left, cutting the Spartan deficit to three at 61-58.
That began a crazy final 25 seconds of the game. Wesley's JJ Bryant split a pair of free throws with 17 seconds left as the Wolverines' lead stood at four. Watson got a lay up with 10.2 seconds left as York wasn't going away. The Spartans fouled Guidry with 7.8 seconds left and he split a pair but Reynolds grabbed a huge offensive rebound on the miss as the Spartans couldn't take advantage of Guidry's misfire. Reynolds converted both chances with 6.1 seconds left as the lead grew to 65-60.
The Spartans got a huge break as Davidson fouled Oursler on the in-bounds and the Spartan senior sank both freebies to draw York back to within three. York had to again foul and Reynolds canned both as the Wesley lead stood at 67-62. Junior Mitch Kemp took the inbounds throw and heaved it towards the Spartans' lane. Kouvaris got a tip out to junior Jeremy Skoloda and the guard canned a three pointer with 2.8 seconds left in the game, drawing York to within two. Bryant was fouled with 2.1 left and he missed the first attempt, leaving to door open for York. Bryant made the second and Kemp's throw down court was batted around before Kouvaris collected the ball in the corner. The senior couldn't get an attempt off before the horn as the Wolverines escaped with the win.
Reynolds was outstanding for the Wolverines as he poured in a game-high 24 points while he also collected a game-high 11 rebounds. Reynolds was 6-for-12 from the floor including 1-of-3 from three. He converted 11-for-14 from the free throw line as he played 35 minutes for the Wolverines. Rasheed Carter contributed 11 points, four rebounds, and two steals while Davidson and Guidry each chipped in with 12 points.
Oursler led the Spartans with 14 points, as he was 4-for-10 from the floor including 4-of-9 from three. He made both of free throws while he pulled in three rebounds and had three assists. Watson tallied 13 points with four assists and two rebounds in 36 minutes of play. Kouvaris was the third Spartan in double figures with 11 points while he collected a team-high eight boards.
The Wolverines finished the game shooting 39.6% but they were a scorching 57.9% from the floor in the second half. Wesley converted 5-of-18 from distance in the win while they made 21-of-32 from the stripe. The Wolverines made 9-of-14 from the free throw line in the last 1:44 of the game.
York shot 43.5% from the floor including 6-of-15 (40%) from three. The Green and White made 19-of-25 (76%) from the line for the game.
Wesley finished the game with a 39-31 margin in rebounding including a game-changing 16-7 edge in offensive rebounds. The Wolverines finished the contest with a 12-2 advantage in second-chance points while they also had a 32-24 edge in points in the paint. The Wolverines forced 17 Spartan turnovers, which they turned into 22 points.
The Spartans conclude their regular season on Saturday afternoon when they travel to Salisbury University to face the Sea Gulls in a Capital Athletic Conference contest. Game time from Maggs Center is set for 4:00 pm.
Paul Kouvaris photo courtesy of Jenny Hinkle, Athletic Communications Practicum Student