DOVER, DEL – The York College men's basketball team kicked off their 2011-12 Capital Athletic Conference season with a 75-67 at Wesley College on Wednesday night in Dover, Delaware. The Spartans improve to 4-2 overall and 1-0 in the CAC while the Wolverines fall to a deceptive 1-4 overall and 0-1 in the league.
The victory for the Spartans is their second straight in Dover, a place that hasn't been easy for opponents to win over the past three-plus seasons. Dating back to the start of the 2008-2009 season, the Wolverines are an incredible 29-3 at Wentworth Gymnasium. Two of those three losses have come to the Spartans while other Wolverine setback came against St. Mary's in January of 2010.
The Wolverines jumped out to an early lead on the Spartans before the Spartans took a 7-6 lead on a Julian Watson three. The Wolverines tied the game on a JJ Bryant free throw but that is the last time the Wolverines would not trail in the game. York fashioned a 15-5 run as junior Mitch Kemp fueled the run with three triples in the spurt. A fourth Kemp three pushed the advantage to a half high of 11 at 25-14. The Wolverines eventually trimmed the Spartan lead to just a pair at 31-29 after Wesley put together a 15-6 run. York closed out the half with a flurry as they scored eight of the final 11 points of the half to take a 39-33 lead to the break.
The Spartans came out of the intermission on fire, scoring the first ten points of the half, growing the lead to a game-high 16 just over two minutes into the second half. The Wolverines wasted little time in answering York as Wesley went on an extended 18-4 run to cut the Spartan lead to just two at 51-49. The York lead bounced between two and eight points before the Spartans extended their lead to 12 at 65-53 with 7:55 remaining in the game. Again, Wesley wouldn't go away as the Wolverines cut the Spartan advantage to four at 68-64 with 1:34 left. The Wolverines were forced to foul and the Spartans converted those chances as they hit six straight to push the lead to 10 with 31 seconds left. Wesley got a three point play from Eric Selby with 25 seconds left but Paul Kouvaris closed out the scoring by splitting a pair of free throws with 15 seconds left as the Spartans picked up a huge road victory.
Kouvaris led the Spartans with his first double-double of the year as he poured in 17 points while he also collected 10 rebounds. The double-double is the 11th of Kouvaris' career. The senior was 6-for-8 from the floor and 5-for-9 from the free throw line. Kemp tallied a career-high 19 points as he was on-fire in the opening half. Kemp scored 15 points in the opening half and finished the game shooting 6-for-10 from the floor including 5-for-8 from three and 2-for-2 from the line. He added three rebounds and one assist in 23 minutes of play. Watson continued his strong early season play with 14 points, four rebounds, four assists and one steal. He was 4-for-7 from the floor including 2-for-2 from distance and 4-for-4 from the stripe. Senior Mo Oursler was the fourth Spartan in double figures as he tied his season-high with 10 points. Oursler also had three rebounds and three assists.
The Wolverines received 16 points from Bryant, Chris Douglas, and Selby. Bryant added six rebounds for the Wolverines. All-CAC forward Paul Reynolds was limited by foul trouble as the junior standout was 3-for-8 from the floor with five rebounds in 29 minutes of work.
The Spartans won the game in the second half on the glass as they outrebounded the Wolverines 20-9 in the second stanza. Wesley had just two offensive rebounds in the second half as York managed to limit second chances for the hosts. York finished the game with a 35-31 edge on the glass.
The Green and White finished the game shooting 48.1% from the floor including 10-for-23 from three. The Spartans also shot 75% (15-for-20) from the free throw line including 12-for-16 in the second half and 7-for-8 in the final minute of the game.
Wesley shot 42.9% from the field while they made 7-of-26 (26.9%) from three. The Wolverines went just 3-for-12 from distance in the second half. The hosts shot 62.3% (12-for-19) from the charity stripe in the loss.
The Spartans return home on Saturday afternoon as they host Marymount University in a CAC contest at Wolf Gymnasium. Tip time is scheduled for 2:00 pm in York.