YORK, PA – The York College men's basketball dropped a hard-fought 59-57 non-conference decision to Gettysburg College on Wednesday night in York.
The Spartans fall to 1-2 while the Bullets pick up their first win of the year after their 0-2 weekend start.
The game came down the end as the Spartans had their chances inside the last minute of the game to steal a home victory.
With York trailing 57-53, the Spartans fouled Sango Amolo with 27 seconds left in regulation. Amolo missed both free throws and the Spartans rebounded the second miss and pushed up court. Mike Mathews (Newark, Del./Salesianum) hit a pull up jumper in the lane to draw the Spartans two within a pair at 57-55. After timeouts from each team, the Spartans made a great play on the inbounds. Matt McNeely (Bel Air, Md./C. Milton Wright) nabbed a steal and fed the ball to Mathews. Amolo then made the defensive play of the game as he blocked Mathew's game-tying attempt. The Bullets corralled the rebound and Cody Kiefer found a streaking Joe Emerusabe for a break away bucket as the Bullets took a four point lead with six seconds left to seal the victory. The Spartans got a rebound and put back from McNeely at the buzzer but it wouldn't be enough for the Green and White.
As exciting as the final minute of the game was, the opening minutes of the game were offensively challenged as the teams combined to score eight points in the first six minutes of the game. The Bullets pushed out to a six-point lead on consecutive threes from Kevin Gladstone and Amolo with 13 minutes left in the half.
The Gettysburg lead eventually grew to nine at 17-8 but the Spartans used a 9-3 spurt to trim their deficit to 20-17. The Bullets would eventually take a 24-19 lead to the break.
Gettysburg quickly pushed their lead to eight as Joey Kacmarsky drilled a three on the Bullets' opening possession of the second half. However, the Spartans responded with a 16-4 run to take a 35-31 lead. Mathews led the way during the run with nine points.
Gettysburg halted the Spartan run with a Kiefer three. That three not only stopped York's momentum, but started a 12-2 Gettysburg run that left the Bullets in charge of the game. Gettysburg grew the lead to ten twice late in the second half, with the second time come on a Tanner Kirkpatrick layup with 4:01 left in the game.
The Spartans made one final push at the Bullets as freshman Ryan Beaver (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) canned three pointers on consecutive possessions to trim York's deficit to 55-51 with 3:03 remaining.
The Spartans got some help at Emerusabe missed a pair of free throws with 2:33 left but a big offensive foul on the Spartans gave the ball right back to the Bullets. The two teams traded lay ups in the ensuing possessions followed by turnovers by both squads before the Spartans fouled Amolo, setting the stage for the crazy final 35 seconds of the game.
Kirkpatrick poured in a game-high 19 points to lead the Bullets. He was 9-for-12 from the floor including 1-for-1 from three. Kirkpatrick added six rebounds and a steal in his 35 minutes of action. Kiefer added 13 points, four rebounds, three assists, a blocked shot, and a steal. Amolo contributed 11 points, a game-high six assists, four rebounds, and one blocked shot.
McNeely had another big night for the Spartans as he registered 18 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. McNeely was 6-for-9 from the floor and 6-for-10 from the line while he also had three steals and three assists. Mathews was the other Spartan in double figures with 17 points while he also had six rebounds, three steals, and two assists.
The Spartans finished the game shooting 45.1% from the floor and just 18.2% (2-for-11) from three. The Spartans struggled again from the free throw line as they went 9-for-18 (50%).
Gettysburg converted 47.1% of their chances from the field including 7-of-22 (31.8%) from three. Gettysburg's free throw shooting almost cost the Bullets the game as they went just 4-for-14 at the stripe including 0-for-6 in the final three minutes of the game.
York held a slight 34-31 margin on the glass in the loss.
The Spartans return to action on Saturday afternoon when they travel to Messiah for a non-conference contest against the Falcons. Game time in Grantham is set for 3:00 pm.