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Huge Road Win Gives Spartans Inside Track To Playoffs

Huge Road Win Gives Spartans Inside Track To Playoffs

Altoona, PA - The D'Youville Men's Basketball Team continued their quest for the post-season on Saturday afternoon by defeating the Penn State-Altoona Lions by the final score of 65-49.

D'Youville jumped out to an early 9-2 lead after and Anthony Malone (Erie, PA/Mercyhurst Prep) completed an and-one opportunity. Scoring 4 points to give the Spartans the early lead was Matt Insley (Wellsville, NY/Wellsville), who scored his points at the rim with a tip-in and layup. Marcus Clarke (Olean, NY/Archbishop Walsh Academy) made a layup, starting a 12-0 run that lasted exactly 5 minutes. Jon Gemerek (Cheektowaga, NY/Depew) capped off the run by scoring 6 straight points, with the last 2 coming from the free throw line.

A three-pointer made by Bayani Salinas (Antioch, CA/Antioch) gave D'Youville a 30-13 lead with 5:40 left in the first half. After a Zach Blask (Portville, NY/Portville) three-pointer and Gemerek jumper, the Spartans would extend their lead to 20. Penn State-Altoona would chip away slightly at the Spartan lead but D'Youville would hold strong, taking a 38-22 lead into halftime.

Julian Reed (Cheektowaga, NY/Union-Endicott) came out to score the first basket of the second half. Salinas followed up with back-to-back layups to give the Spartans a 22 point lead. Reed would then score 6 straight points of his own, highlighted by back-to-back dunks. Reed's last basket put the guests up by 25, doubling the Lions score. 

Gemerek would score 6 straight points of his own after a Malone three-pointer, putting the game out of reach. Gene Smith (Buffalo, NY/CSAT) put the icing on the cake with a made free throw with 1:42 remaining. D'Youville would go on to win the game by the final score of 65-49, making a major stride to their goal of playoffs.

"We had an outstanding defensive effort today," said fourth year Head Coach Earl Schunk. "We were able to get ahead early because of our defense and we pulled away at the beginning of the second half due to a great defensive first 5 minutes."

Jon Gemerek led the team with 14 points Saturday afternoon. Adding 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals, Gemerek had a usual all-around solid game. Julian Reed posted a double-double by scoring 13 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Reed's 7 blocks increased his team lead. The senior added 2 assists in the team's win. Coming off the bench, Marcus Clarke was the team's third leading scorer with 11 points, which led all bench players. Clarke also had 3 rebounds and 2 steals. 

With yet another impressive game to his freshman campaign, Bayani Salinas scored 9 points to go along with his 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. Sharp shooting freshman Zach Blask scored 7 points and brought in a career high 7 rebounds. Anthony Malone had 6 points of his own along with 3 steals and 2 assists. Gene Smith had 1 point. Nate Sweetman (Johnstown, NY/Johnstown) had 2 rebounds and 2 steals off the bench. Matt Insley had a team high 5 assists with 4 points and 4 rebounds. Starter Conor Gallivan (Elma, NY/Iroquois) had 1 rebound and 1 block.

Freshmen Adam Ibrahim (New Port Richey, FL/Ridgewood), Kyle Violanti (Hamburg, NY/Hamburg), Steve Kunelius (Oswego, NY/Oswego) and James Cortez (Bitburg, Germany/Bitburg) all saw minutes Saturday afternoon for D'Youville. 

"Offensively we were streaky at times and we will need to be more consistent with that if we make the playoffs," said Coach Schunk.

The current playoff scenario involves the Mount Aloysius Mounties needing to win their final 2 road games to make the playoffs. If the Mounties lose either of those games, the Spartans will clinch a playoff spot.

The final regular season game for the Spartans will be Saturday, February 21st at 4pm for the Senior Game in the College Center Gym.