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York College men's basketball to face St. John Fisher in first round of NCAA Tournament

ROB ROSE
717-505-5418/@robrosesports
  • York College will play St. John Fisher in round one of the NCAA Tournament.
  • The game will begin at 5 p.m. Friday in Ohio.
  • The second round game would be Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

For the third straight season, the York College men’s basketball team is headed back to the NCAA Division III Championship tournament.

After the Spartans filled up on pizza and wings and watched their Capital Athletic Conference title game victory over Christopher Newport, the team tuned into the NCAA selection show on Monday.

York College (22-5) drew a first-round meeting with St. John Fisher (19-8) on Friday at the University of Mount Union in Ohio. The Spartans’ contest will tip at 5 p.m.

Battle tested: York College entered the tournament with an automatic bid after winning the CAC in its final year in the conference. While he said there is something his team could take from winning the conference title, York College coach Matt Hunter isn’t expecting the Spartans’ latest victory to equal more.

“I’m not a big believer in momentum,” Hunter said. “It’s all about what we can bring to the table Friday evening. What it does do is create another memory bank for us. There’s no harder place to go win on the road than at Christopher Newport, and to do that in the championship game (helps). We’ve played in loud environments, hot environments, small environments (and) big environments, so we’re really pretty battled tested and whatever environment it’s going to be, we’re going to compete at our best.”

The York College men's basketball team poses with its trophy after winning the Capital Athletic Conference championship. The Spartans will begin their pursuit of a national title on Friday.

St. John Fisher won the Empire 8 Championship and overcame a 20-point second half deficit to do so. The Cardinals are led by senior Sammy Robinson, who averaged 17.4 points per game this season.

The winner of the York College vs. St. John Fisher contest will play the winner of the Mount Union (25-3) vs. Cairn University (18-9) game on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. for a spot in the Sweet 16.

Hitting their stride: The Spartans will look to improve on their NCAA Tournament result from a season ago, when the team lost in the second round. 

With Central York High graduate Jared Wagner leading the team to a conference title in a season in which he won CAC Player of the Year, the Spartans have dreams of reaching another title game before the year is over. 

For York College senior and Spring Grove High graduate Darin Gordon, the way the team has been playing recently gives him high hopes of an extended postseason run, but his sights are set on winning Friday's game first.

“I think we’re in a really good spot right now,” Gordon said. “Everyone is confident in where we’re at. We’re focused on the next game and taking it one game at a time, the way we have all season.”

— Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.

York College Head Coach Matt Hunter coaches Darin Gordon during mens' basketball action against Salisbury at Grumbacher Sport and Fitness Center in Spring Garden Township, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. York College would win the game 91-71. Dawn J. Sagert photo