ANNVILLE, PA – The York College men's basketball team opened head coach Jeff Gamber's 35th and final season at the helm of the Spartans with an 81-62 opening night victory at Lebanon Valley College on Tuesday night in Annville, Pa. The Spartans have now won three straight openers including the last two against the Flying Dutchmen.
Senior Paul Kouvaris led the York offense that saw four Spartans reach double figures. Kouvaris began his final season in the Green and White with 23 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals. Kouvaris was a blistering 7-for-9 from the floor and 9-for-12 from the free throw line. The nine free throws made ties Kouvaris' career best.
Junior guard Julian Watson added 17 points as he was a highly efficient 8-for-11 from the floor including 1-for-1 from three. Watson added six rebounds and three assists in his 36 minutes of work. Junior Mitch Kemp came off the bench to add 13 points while fellow junior Jeremy Skoloda chipped in with 10 points and three assists.
The game was tied at seven when the Spartans to slowly pull away. The Green and White went on a 14-7 run to take a 21-14 lead midway through the opening half. The Dutchmen eventually trimmed the lead to four at 27-23 but the Spartans fashioned a 13-2 run as the York advantage grew to a half-high 15 points with 1:47 left. Kouvaris had a pair of layups on the spurt while Skoloda added four points and Mo Oursler banged home a three. York settled for a 42-31 halftime lead.
The Flying Dutchmen opened the half with a pair of buckets to trim the Spartan lead to seven just over a minute into the half. The Spartans answered with a sustained 14-4 run that extended their lead to 17 (56-39) with 13:54 remaining in the second half.
Lebanon Valley made one more run at the Spartans, cutting the York advantage to nine twice, the last time coming on a Kevin Agnew lay up with 7:14 showing on the clock. Kouvaris hit a pair of free throws with 5:34 left and the Spartan lead would not fall below double digits the remainder of the contest. York's lead grew to 21 on a pair of Andrew Pawlyk free throws at the 2:20 mark before the Spartans finished with a 19-point win.
Danny Brooks paced the hosts with 18 points and a game-high 14 rebounds as he was 7-for-16 from the field and 4-for-5 from the free throw line. Pre-season All-American Joe Meehan added 16 points but was held to just 6-for-14 shooting from the field while the Spartan defense forced him into six turnovers in the contest. Brooks and Meehan accounted for 55% of the Flying Dutchmen points.
The Spartans finished the game shooting 56% from the floor while they shot 50% (6-for-12) from three. The Spartans sank 19-of-29 from the free throw line (65.5%) for the contest. The hosts finished the game shooting just 40.4% from the floor including just 34.6% in the second half. LVC converted 5-for-13 (38.5%) from three and 11-for-17 (64.7%) from the charity stripe.
York finished the game holding a 37-30 advantage on the glass while both teams had 11 assists. The Spartans forced 20 turnovers that they turned into 31 points while York's 18 turnovers resulted in 17 LVC points.
The Spartans make their 2011 home debut on Friday night when they host the loaded White Rose City Classic. The Green and White squares off against Elizabethtown in the tournament's first semifinal. Tip time is set for 6:00 pm. The second semifinal features Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Richard Stockton with tip time set for 8:00 pm. Spartan fans are encouraged to get their tickets in advance at The Grumbacher Sport & Fitness Center.