Mathews' Game-Winner Snaps Spartan Skid

YORK, PA – Senior forward Mike Mathews (Newark, Del./Salesianum) converted a traditional three-point play with 28.3 seconds left to give the York College men's basketball a lead they would not relinquish as the Spartans defeated Salisbury 60-57 in Capital Athletic Conference play on Saturday in York.

The much-needed victory snaps the Spartans' 11-game losing streak as York improves to 2-11 overall and 1-5 in the league. Salisbury falls to 4-8 overall and 1-4 in the league.

The Sea Gulls got off to a fantastic start in the game as they sprinted out to a 7-0 lead. The Sea Gulls grew the lead to 12 at 16-4. York cut the lead to eight but the Gulls pushed it back to 10 at 19-9.

That's when York clawed back and fashioned an 18-5 run to turn their 10 point deficit into a 27-24 lead. The Spartans pushed their lead to four twice before settling for the two-point halftime lead. It is just the second time this year the Spartans have led going into intermission.

The Spartans continued their strong play to open the second half as they opened up an eight-point lead at 47-39 with 14:36 left in the game. The Gulls answered with a 10-2 run, tying the game at 49 with 7:45 remaining. The teams would go scoreless over the next three minutes as neither team could get any traction going on the offensive end of the floor.

Mathews broke the tie with a jumper in the paint only to have Ryan Miller answer with a bucket of his own, tying the game at 51. A pair of free throws by Charlie Rogers put the Sea Gulls up 53-51 before Mathews split a pair of free throws to cut Salisbury's lead to one with 3:19 left. The teams continued to trade buckets over the next two and a half minutes before Mathews hit the go-ahead basket and free throw to give York a lead they wouldn't surrender.

After Mathews' heroics on the offensive end, he made a great play on the defensive end, blocking Tim Harwood's lay up attempt on the ensuing Salisbury possession as York got the defensive rebound. Freshman Brad Wesner (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Trinity) was fouled and split the pair to put York up three with 8.9 seconds left.

Salisbury had a chance to tie at the end but Charles Porter's three from the top of the key fell just off the front of the rim as the final horn sounded.

Freshman Joey Feinberg (New City, N.Y/Don Bosco Prep) had the best game of his young career as he poured in a career-high 15 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the floor including 1-of-2 from three. Feinberg went 6-for-8 from the free throw line while he also had four rebounds and three assists. Senior Matt McNeely (Bel Air, Md./C. Milton Wright) added nine points and eight rebounds while fellow senior B.J. Enck (Quarryville, Pa./Solanco) was highly effective with nine points, a game-high nine rebounds, two assists and three steals in his 26 minutes off the bench for York. Wesner recorded a new career-high as the freshman tallied nine points for the Spartans.

Harwood led the Gulls as he tallied 26 points on 9-of-18 shooting from the floor including 2-for-6 from three. Harwood also converted all six of his free throw attempts. Brandyn Wilkerson and Gordon Jeter each added eight points to the Salisbury attack.

York shot 45.7% from the floor including 5-for-13 (38.5%) from three. The Spartans were again shaky from the free throw line, converting just 13-for-22 for the game.

Salisbury shot 34.5% for the contest from the field while they made 4-of-18 (22.2%) from three. Salisbury was steady from the line, making 15-of-18 (83.8%).

York finished the game holding a 39-30 edge in rebounding. The Sea Gulls forced 24 Spartan turnovers and turned those mistakes into 19 points. Salisbury had 17 turnovers but York was able to turn those miscues into 18 points.

The Spartans return to action on Wednesday when they face another tough league test as they welcome nationally ranked St. Mary's to Wolf Gymnasium. Tip time in York is set for 8:00 pm.

Joey Feinberg photo courtesy of David Sinclair