ELIZABETHTOWN, PA – York College senior guard Julian Watson (Odenton, Md./Arundel) hit a runner in the lane with two seconds left in regulation to lift his York College Spartans to a 61-59 win over Elizabethtown College on Monday night in Thompson Gymnasium in Elizabethtown, Pa.
The win snaps a two game Spartan skid as York improves to 7-11 overall. The Blue Jays fall to 5-11 with the loss. York has now won four straight in the series.
The game started off extremely slow as neither team could find the mark on the offensive end of the floor. Watson started the scoring 3:38 in the game with a driving basket to give York the early advantage.
The Spartans pushed their lead to 15-6 at the 11:01 mark but the Blue Jays would come storming back. Elizabethtown fashioned a 16-6 run to take a 22-21 lead on a Ben Cable triple with 6:54 left in the first. York answered with buckets from Watson and Matt McNeely (Bel Air, Md./C. Milton Wright) to take the 25-22 lead. After Brandon Enck (Quaryville, Pa./Solanco) split a pair of free throws, the Blue Jays tied the game on baskets by Andrew Mantz and Tyler Simpkiss. York converted two more free throws only to allow an offensive rebound and put back by Joe Schwalm at the buzzer, knotting the game at 28 heading to the break.
The Blue Jays took the play to the Spartans in the early stages of the second half. Elizabethtown forged a five-point lead just over five minutes into the half. They eventually pushed the lead to seven on a pair of Cable free throws with 12:02 left. That's when the Spartans started to get back into the game.
Watson started a small run with a three pointer at the top of the key. After a defensive stop, Todd Maciejewski (Red Lion, Pa./Red Lion), who had been hampered all night with foul trouble, converted a pair of free throws to draw York to within two. A pair of Elizabethtown threes sandwiched a Maciejewski lay up as York trailed 49-43 with 9:44 left.
York then went on a 10-2 run capped by a Mike Mathews (Newark, Del./Salesianum) lay up on a secondary break to give York a 53-51 lead. Schwalm made another big shot for the Blue Jays as he stemmed the tide with a three, giving Elizabethtown at 54-53 lead with 4:48 left. Mathews gave the lead back to the Spartans before Phil Wenger answered as the hosts had a 56-55 lead with 2:46 remaining.
McNeely came up huge for York on two straight possessions as he scored off a beautiful high-low pass from Mathews at the 2:27 mark and then again off an improbable tip in less than a minute later as York led by three with 1:36 left. The Blue Jays' Ryan Borzager hit a three to tie the game with 40 seconds left, setting the stage for the final Spartan possession.
The Spartans ran the clock down to 6.8 seconds before head coach Matt Hunter called time out. Jeremy Skoloda (Leola, Pa./Conestoga Valley) inbounded to Watson inside half court. Watson drove to the left side of the lane, elevated and hit a shot that bounced on the back iron before dropping through, giving York the go-ahead points.
The Blue Jays had a chance with 2.0 seconds left as a Cable three was in the air at the horn and drew iron before falling away, allowing the Spartans to pick up their fourth road win of the year.
Watson led the balanced efforts with a game-high 15 points, as he was 6-for-10 from the field including 1-of-2 from the line and 2-for-4 from the stripe. He handed out two assists and did not commit a turnover in his 33 minutes of play.
York did not have any other players in double figures but did have five players with seven points or more. McNeely registered a big eight points while he also had four rebounds. Enck had the best game of his Spartan career as he came up with seven points and seven rebounds, both career highs for the junior guard. He also had a pair of assists and a blocked shot in the win.
Schwalm led the Blue Jays with 14 points and a game-high nine rebounds. The forward banged home four threes in the game as he was 5-for-16 from the floor. Wenger added 11 points, three rebounds, three assists, and four steals, while Cable was the third Blue Jay in double figures with 10 points.
The Spartans shot 45.1% from the floor while the Blue Jays shot 36.1%. Elizabethtown did can nine threes in the game as their long distance shooting kept them in the game.
York outrebounded their hosts 37-32 while York also held a 32-20 edge in points in the paint in the victory.
The Spartans return to action on Saturday when they host St. Mary's College in a Capital Athletic Conference contest. Game time against the nationally ranked Seahawks is set for 3:00 pm. The game will be preceded by the banner raising ceremony for the 2011-12 CAC Champion men's basketball team as part of the Alumni Day festivities.