YORK, Pa. – In a matchup that has all the makings of a soon-to-be Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) rivalry, Penn State Harrisburg made the short trip down I-83 and defeated York (Pa.) 70-65 on Wednesday night, Dec. 4. After being handled by the Spartans at home exactly 51 weeks earlier, the Blue & White returned the favor by earning an historic win at Charles Wolf Gymnasium; the program's first ever in CAC play.
Penn State Harrisburg was led by do-it-all senior captain Will Doyle (Franklin, Va. / Tidewater Academy) and junior Alberto De Los Santos (Enola, Pa. / East Pennsboro). Doyle scored 15 points, dished-out a game-high five assists and corralled four rebounds while De Los Santos made his first start of the season a strong one as he netted 13 and grabbed a team-high five boards.
The Lions shot well from distance in the early going with De Los Santos, Doyle and freshman point guard Marquese Daniels (Wyncote, Pa. / Philadelphia Electric & Technology Charter) connecting from beyond the arc on three of the team's first four field goals.
After trading the advantage six times in the game's first ten minutes, the Spartans took their largest lead of the night when Dalton Myers hit a three-ball to put them up 21-17 with 8:12 remaining in the first half.
Sophomore Jamaal Dubose (Bowie, Md. / Bowie) answered back with a three-pointer of his own on Penn State Harrisburg's next possession to help spark a pivotal 11-3 Lions' run over the next 3:46. The Lions cranked it up on defense and forced four turnovers during the stretch while adding layups from Daniels and freshman Winton Lyle (Washington, D.C. / Bullis School), as well as a hard-fought three-point play from senior captain Kenny Stone (Philadelphia, Pa. / Scotland) on the other end of the floor.
Another Stone layup gave the Blue & White its largest lead of the half at 37-27 with 1:34 left in the first. York (Pa.) made a mini-run and drew within six points early in the second half but the Lions had an answer. Doyle responded with another three and junior Joey Farthing (Lancaster, Pa. / Hempfield), Stone and De Los Santos added more points in the paint to increase the visitors' advantage to 46-34 with 14:41 remaining.
Junior Kevin Icker (Scranton, Pa. / Scranton Prep) preserved Penn State Harrisburg's double-digit lead with a layup off a pretty pass from Doyle at the 7:34 mark but the Spartans started to chip away over the next two and a half minutes and threatened for the first time in the second half when a pair of Brad Wesner foul shots cut the deficit to six points with 5:07 left to play.
After five-straight Doyle points slowed the York (Pa.) push, the Spartans were forced to change their strategy, opting to foul and make the Lions convert free throws down the stretch.
They were up to the task.
With their team leading by six with 2:06 remaining, Daniels, Stone, Dubose and De Los Santos combined to go 10-12 from the charity stripe in crunch time. Their conversions proved even more clutch when the Spartans cut the deficit to just three points thanks to Ryan Beaver and Matt McNeely draining desperation three-pointers with less than 20 seconds left.
After struggling a bit in his last two outings, Daniels bounced back nicely with a strong performance that saw him score 13 points on 4-7 shooting from the field. Stone battled through illness and turned in one of his best efforts of the young season, netting eight tallies on 3-5 shooting and grabbing four boards. Lyle finished with eight points and four rebounds.
Despite shooting just 30 percent from the field, Doyle continued his strong all-around play and was the driving force behind the victory. In addition to his point, assist and rebound totals, the man from Virginia swiped a game-high three steals while going 6-7 from the foul line. De Los Santos was 6-6 from the stripe and kept his free throw shooting percentage perfect on the season.
As a team, Penn State Harrisburg shot 75 percent (21-28) from the foul line compared to just 58.6 percent (17-29) by the Spartans. The Lions forced 19 turnovers and scored 19 tallies off of them. Thanks to the likes of Daniels, Stone, Dubose, Icker and junior Joshua Johnson (Franklin, Va. / Southampton), the Blue & White bench outscored York's reserves 32-21.
Penn State Harrisburg needed just one attempt to pick up its first CAC victory in program history and the win improved the Lions to 3-3 on the year. To this point in the season, the men have earned victories over three of the mid-state's most recognizable programs in Gettysburg, Lebanon Valley, and now York (Pa.).
The Lions face what might just be their biggest test of the young campaign this Saturday afternoon, Dec. 7, when 12th ranked St. Mary's (Md.) pays a visit to the Capital Union Building for the Blue & White's second league matchup of the season. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m.