YORK, PA – The York College men's basketball team fell to a talented New Jersey City Gothic Knight squad, 60-45, in the championship game of the 14th Annual Coaches vs. Cancer Classic on Sunday afternoon in York.
The Gothic Knights improve to 2-0 overall while the Spartans are now 1-1.
The Spartans went into the game with a specific plan. Make the Gothic Knights beat them from the outside. The plan worked out well but the Green and White made life very difficult on themselves as they committed 26 turnovers on the game, many of which were self inflicted miscues.
The scoring pace was glacial in the opening half as the two teams combined for 10 points in the opening 7:16 of the game. The Gothic Knights picked up the pace with a 10-0 spurt that turned a two-point deficit into a 14-6 lead.
York battled back with a 9-0 run of their own to take a 15-14 lead with 6:18 left in the half. Jersey City then outscored their hosts 12-5 over the final 5:15 of the first half to take a 26-20 break to the half.
The Spartans were very fortunate that their deficit wasn't greater as the Green and White committed 16 first half turnovers. York's defensive effort was very good in the opening half as they harassed the Gothic Knights into 30% (9-for-30) shooting in the half including 4-for-17 from three.
The Spartans cut the Gothic Knight lead to two twice in the early stages of the second half. The second time came on a pair of Matt McNeely (Bel Air, Md./C. Milton Wright) free throws with 17:31 left in the game. The Gothic Knights then hit the Spartans with a game-changing 20-5 run that featured a trio of triples, two from all-tournament team member Khalid Muhammad.
The Spartans wouldn't get closer than 13 the rest of the way.
Muhammad led the Gothic Knights with 18 points, four assists, two steals and a rebound in his 28 minutes of play. He was 7-for-12 from the floor including 3-for-6 from three. David Cole added 11 points including a trio of first half threes that helped fuel the big Jersey City first half run. Tournament MVP Walik Albright added nine points, four rebounds, one assist, one block and one steal in just 24 minutes after being saddled with early foul trouble.
The Spartans were led by all-tournament team member McNeely as the senior played well with 18 points, six rebounds, and a steal. McNeely was 6-for-10 from the floor and 6-for-10 from the charity stripe. Fellow senior Mike Mathews (Newark, Del./Salesianum) added 10 points, three rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal. Senior B.J. Enck (Quarryville, Pa./Solanco) added eight points and a game-high nine rebounds.
The Spartans finished the game shooting 41.2% from the floor as they went just 1-for-4 from three. The Green and White attempted 20 less shots than NJCU. The Gothic Knights shot 42.6% from the floor while they went 8-for-28 (28.6%) from three.
The Spartans outrebounded Jersey City 32-25 in the loss.
Stevens captured the win in the consolation game as they defeated Gallaudet 77-66.
York returns to action on Wednesday evening when they host Gettysburg in the annual non-conference clash. Tip time is set for 8:00 pm.
Photo courtsey of Zach Rogers