Steubenville, OH - After losing a close game yesterday, the D'Youville Men's Basketball Team bounced back to get their first conference win in 2015 after defeating Franciscan by the score of 73-66.
Jumping out to an early 2 point lead, Franciscan took control of the lead and held it for the first portion of the first half. Zach Blask (Portville, NY/Portville) scored 7 straight points to tie the game up at 20-20 with 8:24 remaining. The next 15 points for the Spartans were scored by 5 different players, including 4 each from Anthony Malone (Erie, PA/Mercyhurst Prep) and Julian Reed (Cheektowaga, NY/Union-Endicott). The half closed with D'Youville leading the Barons 35-34.
Franciscan quickly took the lead starting the second half, but the Spartans answered quickly, regaining the lead less than 2 minutes later. A 9 point scoring run by Anthony Malone was capped off by a made basket and free throw, giving D'Youville a 48-41 lead. Matt Insley (Wellsville, NY/Wellsville) hit a three-pointer to extend the team's lead even further.
D'Youville held the lead until 3:54 left in the game when the Barons tied the game up at 62. Clutch free throws from Julian Reed, Jon Gemerek (Cheektowaga, NY/Depew) and Marcus Clarke (Olean, NY/Archbishop Walsh Academy) helped push the Spartans to victory, defeating Franciscan by the final score of 73-66.
"The best thing about this win was that different guys came through in the clutch," said fourth year Head Coach Earl Schunk.
"We made several big plays on both offense and defense that helped secure the win."
Earning his second straight start, Bayani Salinas (Antioch, CA/Anitoch) came through in clutch situations, hitting shots that allowed D'Youville to get ahead. Scoring 6 points, grabbing 6 rebounds and leading the team with 4 assists, Salinas had a strong game.
Leading the team with 15 points and 13 rebounds, Julian Reed pulled in his second double-double in as many games. Reed also added 4 blocks and 2 steals on the defensive end. Fellow captain Jon Gemerek scored 13 points to go along with 4 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal.
Zach Blask led all bench scorers with 11 points. In his first start of the season, Anthony Malone scored 9 points. Marcus Clarke added 6 points and 4 rebounds.
A big improvement from yesterday's performance was the team's ability to make free throws. D'Youville shot 25% better from the line than against Mount Aloysius on Saturday, and Coach Schunk contributes that to the team's success.
"We also cashed in from the line at the end today and doing that is crucial if we are going to continue to win close games," said Schunk.
Heading into the remainder of the conference schedule, Schunk knows that this game will go a long way for the team's future success.
"It's a nice confidence builder for our team coming into a three game homestand."
The men will play their next 3 games at home, with the next being Wednesday, January 14th at 8pm against Pitt.-Bradford. The conference game follows the women's contest.