Senior center Paul Kouvaris tallied team highs of 16 points and eight rebounds and Mo Oursler added 13 scores to lead fourth-seeded York (18-10) to a 59-51 victory over second-seeded Mary Washington (18-9) in the 2012 CAC Men's Basketball Championship Game.
The title is the second for York in the 22-year history of the CAC and guarantees the Spartans a berth in the 2012 NCAA Division III Tournament. The first CAC crown was in 2005, when the Spartans advanced all the way to the NCAA Final Four.
The victory also extends YCP head coach Jeff Gamber's career. Gamber announced his retirement prior to the start of the 2012 season. He will now lead his team into the NCAA Tournament for the third time in the last eight seasons.
Mary Washington, which split the regular-season series against YCP, was ranked eighth in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region entering the playoffs. The Eagles have now played in the CAC title game four times under 16-year head coach Rod Wood.
Kouvaris also contributed three assists, two steals and a blocked shot for the Spartans. Oursler, who drained half of YCP's six three-point goals, added four boards, one assist and a steal. Point guard Julian Watson added nine scores.
Senior forward Tad Dickman topped UMW with 15 points and added six rebounds, two assists, two steals and three blocked shots while fellow low-post standout Sean Armstrong tallied 12 points and team-highs of seven rebounds and four blocked shots. Armstrong was 3-for-3 from three-point range, leading the Eagles who finished 7-for-20 from outside the arc.
Bradley Reister, who was 3-for-7 from long range, added 11 points for the Eagles.
UMW took the lead on a Reister trey with 14:23 left in the first half and held a lead that ranged up to five points to the break. Dickman's layup on a pass by Mike Harvey with one second left sent the Eagles to the locker room with a 30-26 lead. Armstrong led both teams with 11 points in the first half.
Kouvaris gave YCP its first lead since the early moments of the first half on a jumper with 13:49 left. After trading points, a three-pointer by YCP's Mitch Kemp at the 12:19 mark gave the Spartans a lead (37-34) they never surrendered.
UMW continued to stay close, drawing within one (44-43) with 6:37 left on a Dickman three-point shot. But the Spartans scored six of the next seven points, including a three-pointer and a two-pointer from Watson along with a pair of Kouvaris free throws, to rebuild the lead to 50-44 with 3:33 left.
Dickman's jumper broke YCP's string, but the Spartans answered with an Oursler layup and two free throws by Adam Earle to take a 54-46 advantage with 2:45 left. From there, York sealed the win by hitting 5-of-8 free throw attempts.
The teams were even on the boards, each grabbing 37 misses, but York forced UMW into 20 turnovers while committing just 14.