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York College's standout men's basketball season ends with NCAA D-III second-round loss

STEVE HEISER
717-505-5446/@ydsports
  • The York College men's basketball season came to an end on Saturday night.
  • The Spartans fell to Mount Union, 90-77, in an NCAA Division III second-round game.
  • No. 25 York finished the season at 23-6. The Spartan seniors finished at 86-29.
Central York High School graduate Jared Wagner, seen at left in a file photo, had 16 points, six rebounds and six assists for York College in Saturday's loss to Mount Union.

ALLIANCE, OHIO – Nathan Bower-Malone almost single-handedly ended the York College men's basketball season on Saturday night.

The 5-foot, 10-inch senior exploded for a school-record 53 points in Mount Union's 90-77 victory over the Spartans in an NCAA Division III second-round contest.

The Spartans saw their 13-game winning streak snapped, while the No. 5 Purple Raiders extended their winning streak to 19. The Raiders advance to face Wittenberg in the Sweet 16 next weekend.

No. 25 York finishes at 23-6, while Mount Union improved to 27-3.

York trailed for most of the contest, but clawed back within 62-60 with 8:33 left in the contest. The Raiders then ripped off a 15-2 run to essentially end the game with just under two minutes left.

York was led by Central York High School graduate Jared Wagner (16 points, six rebounds, six assists), Spring Grove grad Darin Gordon (16 points, two rebounds, two assists, two blocked shots, two steals), David Giuliani (15 points, nine rebounds, two blocks, two steals) and Joe Polczynski (12 points, five rebounds).

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For the Raiders, Bower-Malone also had seven rebounds, four assists and three steals. He was 15 for 21 from the field, including 7 for 8 from 3-point range, and was also 16 for 19 from the foul line.

First-round win: In the first round on Friday, York earned an 88-67 win over St. John Fisher in Alliance.

Jared Wagner

That gave York three straight first-round NCAA wins. St. John Fisher finished at 19-9.

Giuliani (16 points, 13 rebounds, two steals), Gordon (15 points, three rebounds, two assists), Wagner (14 points, six rebounds, six assists), Sean Kelly (12 points, five rebounds, three assists, three steals) and Polczynski (13 points, five rebounds, two assists) led York.

Wagner closes out stellar career: Wagner closed out one of the great careers in Spartan history. He eclipsed 1,500 career points in the game and he concludes his career ninth on the all-time scoring list with 1,505 points.

He ranks first in career free throws (467), first in steals (288), first in games played (115), second in assists (554), third in games started (98), fourth in total minutes (3,385), ninth in points, 10th in rebounds and 10th in blocked shots (61). Wagner also owns career single-season records for free throws made (158) and assists (202) while he's second in minutes played (1,007 last year), steals (81) and free throw attempts (215).

Wagner, the Capital Athletic Conference Player of the Year, ended the season averaging 18.3 points, 7.0 assists, 6.1 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game. 

The loss closes the careers of one of the most successful classes in school history. The senior class consisting of Wagner, Gordon, Polczynski and Zach Novick combined to go 86-29, good for a winning percentage of 74.7%. They ended one win short of tying the school record for wins by the 2007-08 senior class. The Spartan seniors captured three straight CAC regular-season championships, two CAC Tournament championships and have made three straight NCAA D-III Tournament appearances. The Spartans have also won 20 or more games for a record three straight years.

Reach Steve Heiser at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com. Information for this story was provided by York College athletics.