SALISBURY, MD - In York College's previous two men's basketball meetings with Salisbury University, the Sea Gulls needed to make a number of plays in the final minute of each game to pull out three points victories.
In Tuesday's Capital Athletic Conference First Round Tournament game, the Sea Gulls quickly removed all doubt about the outcome as Salisbury dispatched the defending conference champions 80-60 in Salisbury.
The Spartans end the season with a mark of 7-19 overall while the Sea Gulls advance to face second-seeded Wesley on Thursday night in the conference semifinals.
The Sea Gulls came out of the gate firing away as they converted 10 three pointers in their first 12 three point attempt of the games. That allowed the Sea Gulls to take a 36-16 just over 10 minutes into the game. Overall, Salisbury went 12-for-16 from the floor to open the game. They also converted both of their free throw attempts en route to the 20 point lead.
The Spartans trimmed their deficit to 15 four different times before Jeremy Skoloda (Leola, Pa./Conestoga Valley) hit a three just before the half, drawing York to within 13 at 49-36 at the break.
Salisbury finished the first half shooting a blistering 60.7% from the floor and 68.4% from three. The Gulls finished the half 13-for-19 from three.
The Green and White cut the Salisbury lead to 12 just under three minutes into the second half but Salisbury responded with two threes in three possessions from Tim Harwood and a pair of Jacoy Gillum free throws as the lead grew back to 20 with 14:39 left in the game.
Senior Todd Maciejewski (Red Lion, Pa./Red Lion) capped a quick 8-0 Spartan run to cut the Spartan deficit to 67-56 but the Gulls would outscore York 13-4 over the final six minutes to provide Salisbury with their 20-point margin of victory.
Salisbury's hot shooting didn't carry over to the second half but it didn't matter, as the Spartans never really got anything going offensively. The Sea Gulls finished the game shooting 50% from the floor, 53.3% from three while they did shoot a crisp 94.1% (16-for-17) at the free throw line. Salisbury's 16 three-pointers were their highest total of the season while it also continues a late season trend for the Gulls. Salisbury has canned 38 three-point field goals in their last three games and 63 in their last six games. The 16 threes are two short of the Salisbury school record that was set back in 1994.
The 80 points for the Sea Gulls is the sixth time they have reached 80 points this season. Conversely, York went over 80 points just twice during the year.
Elijah Gore led all scorers as he poured in 24 points, 20 of which came in the first half. Gore finished the game shooting 6-for-10 from the field, as all his shots were three point attempts. Gore also went a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line. Travon Vann added 22 points, four rebounds, three steals, two assists and a blocked shot in 27 minutes of work. Vann was 8-for-13 from the floor, 4-for-5 from thee and 2-for-3 from the line. Harwood was the third Gull in double figures with 16 points.
Sophomore Mike Mathews (Newark, Del./Salesianum) led York with 14 points while he also had five rebounds in 25 minutes. Mathews was 5-for-10 from the floor, 1-for-4 from three and 3-for-3 from the line.
Senior Julian Watson (Odenton, Md./Arundel) closed out his stellar Spartan career with 12 points. Watson finished his career with 1,208 points, ranking him 14th on the Spartans' all-time scoring list, 66 points behind former standout John Ely. Fellow senior Mitch Kemp (York, Pa./York Suburban) concluded his Spartan career with 10 points, five rebounds, three steals and two assists. Maciejewski also played well in his last collegiate game as he tallied 10 points , five rebounds, four steals and a blocked shot in 27 minutes of action.
The Spartans outrebounded the Sea Gulls 34-30 and attempted eight more shots from the floor but Salisbury's 12-three pointers made advantage erased any advantage the Spartans may have had in other categories.
Watson, Maciejewski, Kemp, Skoloda, and Chad Styer closed out their careers with the loss. They combined to win 61 games including 34 CAC victories. They were key members of the 2012 CAC Championship squad as that squad advanced to the NCAA Touranment for the first time since 2006.