YORK, PA – The 15th ranked University of Mary Washington Eagles withstood a spirited upset bid by the York College Spartans in Capital Athletic Conference action on Saturday afternoon in York. The Eagles made enough plays in the second half to take home the 63-57 victory in York.
York falls to 2-15 overall and 1-8 in the league while the first place Eagles are now 15-2 overall and 8-1 in the conference.
The game was almost a direct opposite of the first meeting of the year between the two teams. The Eagles blitzed the Spartans 80-60 on January 4 in Fredericksburg. The 20-point final margin of victory doesn't indicate how well UMW played as they led by 40 points early in the second half.
On Saturday, the Spartans took the air out of the ball with long possessions while they also did an outstanding job of contesting the Eagles' potent perimeter shooting. It was a formula that kept York in the game and gave them an opportunity to upset the red-hot Eagles.
The first half featured seven ties and nine lead changes as York's young squad continues to show dramatic improvements in how they are playing. The Spartans' biggest lead in the half was two points while the Eagles held a five-point lead late in the stanza. York took the lead to the break for just the third time this year as YCP led 30-29 at the intermission.
The Spartans came out of the break and quickly pushed the lead to six just 1:07 into the stanza. The veteran Eagles would begin climbing back on a Dylan Farinet triple at the 16:28 mark. That three started a prolonged 22-6 run that turned a five point deficit into a game-high 11 point lead with 8:09 left in regulation.
The Spartans were undeterred as they battled back after the big Eagles spurt. York outscored Mary Washington 11-4 over the next five minutes, cutting the UMW lead to 61-57 with just 12 seconds left in the game.
The Spartans were forced to foul and Farinet cashed in on both free throw chances to push the Eagle lead back to six. York could not convert on their ensuing possession and the Eagles rebounded the miss to close out their tough road victory.
Farinet was outstanding for the Eagles as he recorded a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. He also had seven assists, a blocked shot and a steal in 35 minutes of action. Farinet was 5-for-9 from the floor including 1-for-2 from three and 2-for-2 from the stripe. Dom Morra and Dajon Daniel each added 10 points for the Eagles while Taylor Johnson pulled in a game-high 11 rebounds for UMW.
The CAC's leading scorer Bradley Riester was held to a season-low seven points as he was 2-for-8 from the floor including 2-for-6 from three. Riester also went a season-worst 1-for-5 from the line. He entered the game averaging 19.4 points per game.
Senior Mike Mathews (Newark, Del./Salesianum) led the Spartans with a game-high 21 points while he also had eight rebounds. Mathews was 10-for-16 from the floor en route to his career high effort. Mathews also did an outstanding job in guarding the talented Riester. Freshman Brad Wesner (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Trinity) established a new career high with 12 points in his 22 minutes of action. Wesner has been very good as of late as he is averaging almost ten points per game over his last three contests.
For the second straight game, the Spartans really hurt themselves on the free throw line as they converted just 9-of-21 from the line. York entered the game shooting 62% from the stripe for the year but in their last two games, York is just 21-for-49 (42.8%).
York finished the game shooting 41.5% from the floor and 30.8% (4-for-13) from the floor. Mary Washington shot 35% from the field, their second lowest shooting percentage of the year. The Eagles, the top three-point shooting team in the league, converted 10-of-36 (27.8%) from distance. That performance comes just one game after the Eagles set a school record with 23 triples in their lopsided win over Southern Virginia on Thursday.
The Eagles forced 14 Spartan turnovers, which they turned into 17 points.
The Spartans return to action on Wednesday evening when they travel to Penn State Harrisburg to face the Lions in a league match up. Tip time from Harrisburg is set for 8:00 pm.