York point guard Julian Watson scored 14 of his team-high 18 points in the second half.
York point guard Julian Watson scored 14 of his team-high 18 points in the second half. (John A. Pavoncello photo)

An 0-3 start to the season isn't what the York College men's basketball team planned for.

Yet, the Spartans aren't exactly down on themselves following Tuesday night's 75-62 non-conference loss to Messiah in York's home opener at the Charles Wolf Gymnasium inside the Grumbacher Center.

"I know we're not just going out there to play. We go out to compete," Spartans' point guard Julian Watson said. "We lost and it's unfortunate. But we really picked it up offensively and defensively, especially in the second half. If we play like we did in the second half we can turn it around."

Leading 43-28 at intermission, Messiah's Derek Mosley nailed a jumper and a 3-pointer to begin the second half to open up a 20-point advantage for the Falcons. Messiah (1-2) pushed its largest lead to 67-44 with 7:23 to play before York turned things around down the stretch.

As has been the case so far this season, York ran into another hot-shooting club. The Spartans entered Tuesday's contest allowing opponents to shoot a staggering 62 percent from the floor.

Messiah, the defending Commonwealth Conference regular-season and tournament champion, continued the trend by draining five 3-pointers in the first seven minutes of play. The Falcons finished with 11 3-pointers while shooting 54 percent (27-of-50) from the floor. They had four players finish in double figures in scoring.

"We've run into three teams that have shot the ball really well," new York head coach Matt Hunter said. "It's just the luck of the draw. Guys have come out and made shots. And some of the shots (Messiah) made were really well-contested."

Although York struggled to find consistency on offense, the Spartans still shot 55.8 percent from the floor (24-of-43), including 60 percent from 3-point range (9-of-15). Watson scored 14 of his team-high 18 points in the second half. Mitch Kemp, a York Suburban grad, tallied seven of his 10 points in the final 2:20. York committed 11 turnovers to Messiah's eight. The Spartans were outrebounded 27-20.

Next game: Hunter is still in search of his first win as the Spartans' coach. He'll look to get that Sunday when York travels to Gettysburg in a non-conference tune-up before beginning Capital Athletic Conference competition Dec. 1 at St. Mary's. York plays its next eight games on the road before returning home Dec. 28.

"It's an adjustment period," Hunter said. "You have guys who are coming back from injury, guys who are stepping into roles they've never had before (and) a new coach and new system. We're just kind of working together right now."

Selby out: The York College women's basketball team learned Tuesday that junior shooting guard Jess Selby is done for the year with a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered in Saturday's 57-34 win over Roanoke. Selby scored a career-high 16 points in her first career start in York's season opener last Thursday.

-- Reach John Walk at jwalk@yorkdispatch.com.