SCRANTON, PA – The York College men's basketball team opened the Matt Hunter era with a 72-55 setback to the hot-shooting Baruch Bearcats in the opening round of the Radison Invitational hosted by the University of Scranton on Friday night in Scranton, PA.
The debut of the new Spartan mentor started off well as York raced out to a 4-0 lead as the Green and White got a few stops early on against the Bearcats. Baruch started to climb back into the game, tying the contest at eight on a Matas Rascius three point play with 13:47 left.
That three-point play started a sustained 17-4 run, turning a three point deficit into a 10 point lead with 8:16 left in the opening half. York cut the lead to seven twice in the final minute, the second time coming on a deep Mitch Kemp (York, Pa./York Suburban) triple but Edward Roscigno answered with a three of his own at the horn to give the Bearcats a 35-25 lead at the break.
The Bearcats came out of the intermission on fire from the field. They scored the first two buckets of the second half, pushing the lead to 14. York cut the lead to 11 on a Todd Maciejewski (Red Lion, Pa./Red Lion) tip in with 16:21 remaining in the game. That would be as close as the Green and White would get the rest of the way as Baruch embarked on a 20-6 run, opening the lead to 64-37.
The run was complimented by some incredible shooting by the Bearcats. Baruch shot a blistering 86.7% (13-for-15) from the floor as their only two misses in the half came from distance. The Spartans did force 12 turnovers by Bearcats in the half to limit the total Baruch shots in the second stanza.
The Spartans continued to battle as they outscored the Bearcats 18-8 over the final seven minutes of the game, providing for the final margin.
The Bearcats placed four players in double figures led by Jason Berliner as he had 15 points off the bench. Berliner was 6-for-8 from the floor including 2-of-3 from deep and 1-for-1 from the line in his 19 minutes of action. Franklin Garcia, Joshua Vital, and Roscigno each contributed 10 points for the Bearcats. Vital led the Baruch charge on the glass with seven caroms.
Maciejewski paced the Spartans with a game-high 17 points. The senior was 8-for-13 from the floor and 1-of-2 at the free throw line. He chipped in with six rebounds while he tied a career-high with four steals. Fellow senior Julian Watson (Odenton, Md./Arundel) was the other Spartan in double figures with 13 points and four assists in 32 minutes of action. Watson was 5-for-8 from the floor and 3-for-4 from the line.
The Bearcats finished the game shooting 60% from the floor and 46.7% (7-for-15) from three. Baruch shot 68.8% (11-for-16) from the free throw line in the win. The Spartans shot 42.6% from the field while they struggled from distance, converting just 3-of-14 (21.4%) from three. The Spartans went 6-for-11 (54.5%) from the charity stripe.
York committed 17 turnovers in the game, which Baruch turned into 22 points. York forced 21 Bearcat miscues but managed to convert that into just 14 points.
The Baruch bench was big in the win for the Bearcats as they combined to score 43 points.
The Spartans return to action on Saturday as they face Oneonta in the tournament consolation game at 2:00 pm. Baruch will face #18 Scranton in the tournament championship game at 4:00 pm.