YORK, PA – The York College men's basketball team stunned sixth-ranked Wesley College 62-48 in Capital Athletic Conference action on Thursday night in York.
The Spartans improve to 4-16 overall and 3-9 in the CAC. The loss snaps Wesley's school-record 12 game win streak, as they suffer just their second loss of the season, falling to 17-2 overall. The Wolverines are now 9-2 in the league as they fall a game and a half-game back of first place Mary Washington.
The win for the Spartans matches the school record for victory against a ranked team. The 2000-01 Spartans knocked off sixth-ranked Catholic 76-62 on November 29, 2000 in Washington, D.C. The Cardinals would go on to win the 2001 Division III National Championship.
The teams got off to a slow offensive start as they combined for just 20 points in the opening 8:54 of the game. The Spartans would use a 14-2 run to take an 18-9 advantage with 9:02 left in the first half.
The Green and White would go cold over the next seven minutes as Wesley put together a 10-2 run, trimming York's advantage to 20-19 at the 2:55 mark.
That's when York freshman Ryan Beaver (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) got red hot and buried three straight triples on successive York possessions, growing the Spartan lead to 29-21. York would get a Mike Mathews (Newark, Del./Salesianum) free throw with 30 seconds left to take a 30-21 lead to the break.
Mathews opened up the second half with a lay up 21 seconds into the stanza but the Wolverines answered with 10 straight points to cut York's advantage to one.
York quickly got their lead back to seven but the Wolverines would again battle back, cutting the Spartans' lead to one twice over the next five minutes with the last time coming on an A.J. Tilghman lay up with 10:45 left in the half.
The Spartan defense then locked down the Wolverines as York put together an impressive, and lengthy, 18-2 run that covered 8:06 of game time. That gave the Spartans a 60-43 lead with just 2:39 left in regulation.
The Wolverines cut their deficit to 12 thanks to a quick 5-0 spurt but the Spartans made enough plays down the stretch to secure the upset win.
The victory was something that has been building as the youthful Spartans have been playing well in the last month of the season.
Spartan head coach Matt Hunter was happy to see his guys get rewarded with a win.
"I thought we competed unbelievably hard and executed the game plan perfectly on the defensive end," said Hunter. "We did exactly what we wanted to do."
The Spartans were led by Beaver as the freshman came off the bench to drain a career-high 19 points on 5-of-8 shooting as all his attempts were from beyond the arc. He also cashed in 4-of-4 at the stripe and added three rebounds, and a career-high four assists in the win. Fellow freshman Brad Wesner (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Trinity) continued his hot play with a career-high 15 points, a career-high five rebounds, and three assists in his 30 minutes of work. Wesner, who has reached double figures in five of his last six games, was 6-for-10 from the floor including a three. He also went 2-for-2 from the stripe. Mathews was the third Spartan in double figures with 13 points while he also had seven rebounds and a career-high four blocked shots.
Freshman point guard Joey Feinberg (New City, N.Y./Don Bosco Prep) dished out five assists, grabbed six rebounds and had two steals in the win. Senior Matt McNeely (Bel Air, Md./C. Milton Wright) added nine points to the Spartan offensive effort.
The Wolverines placed two in double figures as Eric Selby and David Langan each had 10 points for Wesley. Langan notched a double-double with 12 rebounds while he also blocked a game-high five shots. Langan was 3-for-5 from the floor and 4-for-4 from the line. Selby was 4-for-15 from the field including 0-for-4 from three and a chilly 2-for-7 from the charity stripe. Wayne Lennon grabbed 10 rebounds and added five points, three assists, and a pair of steals for Wesley.
York held Wesley to a season-low 48 points, 27.5 points below their season average. It is the Spartans' lowest point total allowed this year. Wesley shot a season-worst 29.3%, 17.6% below their season average. The Wolverines went just 1-for-15 from three (6.7%). Wesley didn't do themselves any favors at the free throw line as they went just 13-for-21 in the 14-point loss.
York finished the game shooting 43.4% from the floor including a brisk 60% (12-for-20) in the second half. York converted 7-of-14 from three. That is just the second time this season York has been over 50% from distance in a game. The Spartans were also very effective from the free throw line as they went 9-for-11 from the stripe.
Hunter believes the Spartans have been building to this.
"We have focused all year, regardless of who we are playing, on the process of getting better day in and day out," said the second-year Spartan mentor. "We have had to make some major adjustments as the year has gone on and our team, although young, has done that very well. This game proved what we are capable of doing."
The Spartans finished the game with a 39-37 margin on the glass but the Wolverines had a 13-5 edge in second chance shots. York committed 21 turnovers while Wesley had 18 miscues in the game.
Hunter believes the win gives the Spartans a big boost.
"This win gives the guys confidence," said Hunter. "In the grand scheme of anything it doesn't count any more than any other game, but it certainly was nice to get a win and allow the guys to pay off some of the hard work they are doing."
The Green and White returns to action on Saturday afternoon when they host Marymount University in a CAC contest. Tip time from Wolf Gymnasium is set for 3:00 pm.