The York College men's basketball team survived a spirited Wilson College squad 72-61 on Friday night in the opening round of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in York. The Spartans advance to the championship game for the second time in three years.
The Green and White improves to 3-0 with the victory while Wilson falls to 0-2.
The Phoenix didn't look like a second-year program all night long as they gave the youthful Spartans a tough contest. Wilson scored five of the first seven points of the game including a three pointer from Keion Adams. That would prove to be a theme throughout the first half.
Midway through the stanza, the Spartans pushed out to a 25-16 lead. Wilson then fashioned a 10-2 run that was fueled by a pair of Adams three pointers, cutting the York lead to 25-24. After senior Chris Conway (Luthersville, Md./Dulaney) hit a lay up, Adams tied the game with his fifth three of the half with 3:36 left in the period. York would push out to a 32-28 lead on a Matt Scamuffo (Chalfont, Pa./Central Bucks South) triple but Martz Beckett came off the bench to sink a three pointer from the top of the key at the horn as York took a 32-31 lead to the break. Adams poured in 17 first half points including five three point field goals.
The second half would mirror the first early on. York would make a run only to have the Phoenix reel them back in. York led 39-33 but Wilson scored 11 of the next 13 points to forge a 44-41 lead, their largest advantage of the game.
Fortunately for the Green and White, the Spartans responded as they ripped off an 11-0 run to push out to 52-44 lead. The run was a team effort as five different players scored during the spurt.
Wilson wasn't going away as the Phoenix trimmed the York lead to 56-53 on a Marqwon Wynn layup with 3:32 left in the game. Wilson then committed a foul and received a technical foul as York converted all four free throws to increase the lead to seven with the four-point possession.
Wynn answered with a three on Wilson's next possession, drawing the Phoenix to within four but that was as close as it would get going down the stretch. York outscored Wilson 12-5 over the final 2:40 of the game. It could have been a bigger margin for York but the Spartans went just 9-for-16 from the line over the final 2:40 of the game.
Junior Dalton Myers (Finksburg, Md./Westminster) was again brilliant for the Green and White as he poured in a game-high tying 22 points. Myers was an efficient 8-for-11 from the floor and 6-for-8 from the free throw line. He added four rebounds and a career-high five blocked shots in his 31 minutes of action. Sophomore forward Blayde Reich (Lebanon, Pa./Lebanon) added a career-high 15 points as he was 6-for-11 from the floor including a huge three pointer with 1:54 left in the game. It was a shot that pushed the York lead to nine and put the final nail in the Wilson coffin. Reich went for 2-for-4 from the stripe and pulled in five rebounds and dished out three assists in the victory.
Sophomore Zack Galic (Camp Hill, Pa./Cedar Cliff) was a force on the glass as he pulled in a career-high 10 rebounds in his 20 minutes of work. Galic added five points on a field goal and three free throws.
Adams finished the game with 22 points but just five points in the second half after his first half 17-point first half outburst. Adams finished 8-for-14 from the floor and 5-for-8 from three and 1-for-2 from the stripe. He also pulled in 10 rebounds, blocked three shots, and dished out two assists. The five three-point field goals tie him for second place on the tournament's all-time single game list. Wynn added 15 points, two steals, and two rebounds to the Wilson offense. He was 6-for-15 from the floor in the loss. Marquis Nelson was the third Wilson player to reach double figures as he tallied 13 points. Nelson added eight rebounds, four assists and a steal in his 40 minutes of work.
The Spartans finished the game shooting 41.5% from the field and a season-low 22.2% (4-for-18) from three. The Spartans made 38 trips to the line but converted just 24 for a 63.2% conversion rate. The Phoenix shot 35% from the floor but banged home nine threes on 23 attempts (39.1%). Coming into the game, the Spartans had held their first two opponents to 4-for-41 from three. Wilson was not very good from the free throw line as they went 10-for-18 in the loss. York finished the game outrebounding the much smaller Phoenix 40-39.
York did a fantastic job of taking care of the ball as they committed just nine turnovers. Wilson also took care of the ball with 13 turnovers. Thanks to Myers and Reich, the Spartans dominated the paint as they doubled up Wilson 32-16 in points in the paint. The Spartans also had a 14-2 bulge in second chance points.
Spartan head coach Matt Hunter was happy with how his squad responded to a contest that was a tight game in the last two minutes.
"The first two games we played were decided in the last five minutes," said Hunter. "This time the game was on the line. It was a four-point game with 2:40 left. We had to fight it out and finish the game off. We had to learn to do some things tonight that we haven't had to do all year. The style we play is going to mean that we play a lot of close games. Tonight was really good for us."
Hunter also complimented Wilson's effort in the game.
"I thought Wilson played great," said Hunter. "We got their "A" game tonight. Adams was awesome in the first half. Once they were in the game, they thrived in that environment and they enjoyed playing tonight. We played them at their game and it was a good learning environment for our team."
The Spartans return to action on Saturday in the tournament's championship game. They will play the winner of the McDaniel-Pitt Greensburg game in the 3:00 pm contest. Wilson will play in Saturday's 1:00 pm consolation game.