St. Mary's City, Md. – Junior guard Julian Watson (Odenton, Md./Arundel) hit the go-ahead jumper with 31 seconds left to lift fourth-seeded York College of Pennsylvania past the two-time defending champion, top-seeded St. Mary's College of Maryland, 61-58, Thursday night.
St. Mary's (19-7) claimed a one-point lead with 1:34 left in regulation on junior guard Devin Spencer's (Baltimore, Md./Towson Catholic) three-pointer. The Seahawks had an opportunity to stake a six-point lead following a York turnover but Spencer's three-point attempt at 47 seconds was off the mark and rebounded by junior forward Todd Maciejewski (Red Lion, Pa./Red Lion).
After a York (17-10) timeout, Watson dribbled down to the baseline and connected on a fade-away jumper to put his team up 59-58. The Seahawks took the ball down the court and fired off two shots with seven ticks remaining but with .6 seconds on the clock, senior forward Paul Kouvaris (Baltimore, Md./Cardinal Gibbons) was fouled as he grabbed a defensive board. Kouvaris made both free throws to seal the deal.
York will now take on second-seeded University of Mary Washington (18-8) in the CAC Championship on Saturday, February 25 at 2:00 pm. Mary Washington was a 56-54 winner over sixth-seeded Hood College in tonight's other semifinal matchup.
Three Seahawks scored in double digits as sophomore forward Christian MacAuley (Silver Spring, Md./Paint Branch) led the way with 13 points and game-highs of eight rebounds and four blocks. Spencer finished with 12 points and game-best five assists while senior guard Mike Fitzpatrick (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) chipped in 11 points.
St. Mary's jumped out to a 15-8 lead at 11:51 before a 14-6 run put the Spartans on top by one at 4:17 as Maciejewski made good on a layup. The Seahawks rebuilt a 29-24 advantage with an 8-2 run but four consecutive points by Watson in a 1:20 sent the host team into the locker room with only a 29-28 halftime lead.
Fitzpatrick paced all players at the break with 11 points while Kouvaris led York with eight first-half points.
The Seahawks will now hope for an at-large bid as the 2012 NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship Tournament bracket will be announced on Monday, February 27 on www.ncaa.com at noon.
Kouvaris finished with game-high 19 points and seven rebounds while Watson added 12 points and four assists to lead York in the win.