The men’s basketball team moved up 3 more spots in the Coaches’ Top 25 Poll after going 2-0 on the road last week. At No. 16 in the NAIA Div. II poll, the Panthers under Head Coach Delton Deal have earned their highest ranking in school history.
On Friday, the Panthers traveled to Bethany, Okla., and defeated conference opponent Southwestern Christian 82-71. Seniors Marcus Johnson and Thadd Varmall led the team in scoring with 24 and 23 points, respectively.
Saturday’s game against Oklahoma Wesleyan University (18-7) would prove a little more difficult with the Eagles’ high powered offense. Seated second in the MCAC, Oklahoma Wesleyan overcame a 16-point deficit at half and made the waning seconds of the game a thriller. A last second shot by the Eagles to tie the game fell short and York won with a score 77-75. The Panthers were led by Varmall’s game-high 20 points followed by Dylan Brewer contributing 17.
In the final regular season home-game Tuesday night, York avenged their only conference loss of the year to Central Christian. The Panthers overcame a 9-point deficit at the break to take their first lead of the second half at the 12:29 mark on a Reggie Johnson jumper. Several lead changes and ties ensued until York went up for good with 2:28 left in the game on a couple of free throws from Desmond Strickland. The Panthers, who are ranked #4 in the nation as a team in free throw percentage (.739), were 8-8 on the line in the final minutes of play.
In scoring, York had a balanced attack and was led by Marcus Johnson (22), Varmall (18), and Strickland (12). Other scorers were Heyvis Jackson (9), Brewer (8), R. Johnson (6), Amen Osayande (6), Daymian Marshall (4), and Andre Vaughn (4).
York will be on the road this weekend as they take on conference opponents Haskell University Friday night, Feb. 8, and College of the Ozarks on Saturday. The Panthers lead the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference with an 11-1 record and are 21-4 on the season.
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