Captains Defeat 8th-ranked York, 81-71, to Claim Top Seed in CAC Tournament

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - Christopher Newport ended the regular season Saturday night with an exciting 81-71 victory over 8th-ranked York College at the Freeman Center. The victory gave the Captains the top seed in the upcoming Capital Athletic Conference Tournament for the third straight season, as CNU and York ended the year with 14-4 conference marks.

Senior Aaron McFarland, who was honored on Senior Night prior to tipoff, led the way with 21 points and set the new school record for career three-point field goals by knocking down three in the second half. Sophomore Cutch Ellis recorded his second straight double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds, and junior Tyler Femi added ten points in the victory in front of 1,297 fans.

"I just can't say enough about my team," Head Coach John Krikorian said. "I think a lot of people maybe had written us off a while back, but here we are. We've worked so hard and have come so far this season, it's a testament to the resilience of these guys."

The Captains ended the regular season by winning their final four games, and nine of their last ten. CNU will be looking for its third straight CAC title, and for the third straight year the Captains will have the top seed.  Christopher Newport will play again on Thursday night at 8:00 p.m., hosting a CAC semi-final game at the Freeman Center. The opponent for Thursday will be decided Tuesday when the tournament gets underway with quarter-final action. CNU will play the winner of Tuesday night's Frostburg State/Mary Washington game. CNU won the tiebreaker with York due to the Captains' two victories over Salisbury this season, while York split with the Sea Gulls, who finished third in the conference standings. 

CNU jumped to an early 15-2 lead Saturday night, but York was able to cut the lead to six at the half, 33-27. The Spartans grabbed their first advantage of the night with 16:10 to play in the second half, going ahead 38-36. The Captains bounced back and built a 49-42 lead, only to see the Spartans again battle from behind. The Spartans went on an 8-0 run to jump back in front, 50-49, but it would be the last lead of the night for York.

Christopher Newport then used McFarland's three-point prowess to spark a 21-7 run to give the Captains a 70-57 edge. CNU converted 18 of 22 free throws in the second half to put the game away and give the Captains the ten-point triumph. McFarland has now connected on 258 career three-pointers, moving ahead of Jermaine Woods' all-time mark of 257.

Ellis, who scored 19 points for the second straight game and posted his second straight double-double, made ten of 12 foul shots. CNU's other senior, Spencer Marin, was hampered by foul trouble but still managed nine points in just 11 minutes of action.

CNU's defense, ranked eighth in the nation in field goal percentage defense, held the Spartans to 39.3 percent shooting for the night (24 of 61). York came into the game shooting 47 percent for the season. The Captains also out-rebounded the Spartans, 42-36.

The Captains, 20-5 overall to go with their 14-4 CAC mark, never trailed by more than two points in the battle. This marks the fourth straight 20-win season for CNU. York College, 21-4 overall and 14-4 in the CAC, was led by senior Blayde Reich's 22 points. Senior Dalton Myers added 17 points for the Spartans. 

CNU managed to post the victory despite losing starting forward Luther Gibbs to a wrist injury in the second half. Gibbs played just 23 minutes in the game and scored three points and pulled down eight rebounds.

Christopher Newport now leads the all-time series with York, 10-2, and avenged a 79-69 loss at York on January 13th.