FREDERICK, MD- In one of the most improbable wins in the 35-year tenure of York College men's basketball coach Jeff Gamber, the Spartans pulled off an incredible 63-61 Capital Athletic Conference victory at Hood College on Wednesday night in Frederick, MD.
The Spartans trailed 61-57 after a pair of Cameron Cook free throws with 28 seconds left. That set up the unbelievable finish in the game. The Spartans got a lay up from Julian Watson with 21 seconds left, cutting their deficit to two. The Spartans forced a huge turnover on the ensuing Blazer possession as Jeremy Skoloda stole Hood's full court pass, giving the Spartans a chance to tie with 14 seconds left. The Spartans didn't waste the opportunity as Mo Oursler collected the rebound off Mitch Kemp's initial shot and deposited the ball in the bucket, tying the game at 61 with .7 seconds left.
Then came one of the key moments of the game when Hood tried to throw the inbounds down the court. Oursler, in a tremendously smart play, let the ball go out on the far baseline after he determined that there wasn't a Blazer in the area of the ball. That allowed the Spartans to get possession on their own baseline and they made the most as Oursler hit a cutting Paul Kouvaris for the layup and the win.
Kouvaris' bucket capped a tremendous CAC basketball game and gave the Spartans a huge boost in the conference standings.
The Green and White couldn't have asked for better start to the game. Hood scored the first four points of the game only to have York rip off an impressive 20-2 run as the Spartans got off to a fantastic start. Jordan Diggs hit a three to stop the Spartan run and the Blazers started their climb back into the game. Hood used the remainder of the half to erase the Spartan advantage. The Blazers finally got back on top on an Adrien Straughn three with eight seconds left in the half as the hosts took a 33-31 lead to the break.
The early stages of the second half were a defensive battle as there was only a combined 13 points scored in the first seven minutes of the half. The scoring started to pick up as the Blazers forged a 45-38 lead with 11:27 remaining in regulation. The Spartans answered with seven straight points of their own, tying the game at 45. That began a spurt of back and forth play that continued until the Blazers took a 59-54 lead on a Trey Quinn free throw with 56 ticks left.
The Spartans got a huge three from Kemp at the 28 second mark, allowing York to start their unlikely comeback that resulted in Kouvaris' winning shot.
The Spartans were led by their senior captain as Kouvaris poured in 20 points in the win. He was 8-for-15 from the floor and 4-for-6 from the line while he also had a game-high nine rebounds. Watson added 12 points, three rebounds, and two assists in the win. Kemp was the third Spartan in double figures with 10 points. Oursler contributed eight huge points for York.
LaVar Rich led the Blazers with 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting while he also had five rebounds. Cook and Justin Stone each contributed nine points. Quinn chipped in with six points, seven rebounds, and five assists.
The game's overall statistics couldn't have been more even. York shot 45.3% in the game including 31.3% (5-for-16) from three. Hood shot 45.8% from the floor and they were 6-for-16 (37.5%) from distance. Neither team was very good from the line as York went 10-for-17 (58.8%), one of their worst marks of the year. Hood cost themselves a victory from the line as they went just 11-of-26 (42.3%) in the game. Excluding Cook's free throws with 28 seconds left, the Blazers went 3-for-10 at the line over the final 2:40 of regulation.
The Spartans improve to 8-7 overall with the win while they climb back to 3-3 in the CAC. The Blazers had their season-high five-game win streak snapped as they fall to 9-5 overall and 2-4 in the league.
The Spartans return to action on Saturday when they host Salisbury University. Tip time at Wolf Gymnasium is set for 2:00 pm.