Buffalo, NY – The D'Youville men's basketball team earned their second win of the season on Tuesday afternoon by defeating the Alfred State Pioneers by the final score of 80-73.
Freshman Jake Socha (Tonawanda, NY/Niagara Catholic) started off the scoring for D'Youville with the first 4 points of the game. The Spartans began to pull away from the Pioneers roughly half way through the first half, with Steve Kunelius (Oswego, NY/Oswego) scoring 5 of 7 points and extending the D'Youville lead to 19-6.
Alfred State would begin to slowly climb back into the game as they trailed by 10 with 9:23 remaining in the half. Jeremy VanDuluitgaarden (Oneida, NY/Venron-Verona-Sherill) hit a shot from long distance followed by a Marcus Clarke (Olean, NY/Archbishop Walsh Academy) free throw to give D'Youville a 28-19 lead, holding off the Pioneer run until Alfred State once again got back on track.
With time winding down in the first half, Alfred State pulled to within 2 with 1:42 left in the half. Clarke then gave the Spartans some cushion with a basket and free throw and the men would head into the half with a 36-33 lead.
Socha again started off the half with D'Youville's first 4 points as Alfred State again made it known they wouldn't go away. The Pioneers pulled to within 1 with 4:08 gone by in the second half and then took a 1 point lead with 13:15 left on the clock. VanDuluitgaarden tied the game at 49 on yet another three-pointer less than a minute as the two teams continued to battle down the stretch.
The Pioneers would grab their largest lead in the game after taking a 57-50 lead with just over 10 left in the game. Back-to-back Clarke three-pointers shortened the deficit to two and then Marcus' hot hand gave D'Youville the lead over a minute later with a third three-pointer in 2 minutes.
Tied with 4:38 remaining in the game, D'Youville would come up clutch from the free throw line and help clinch the game. The Spartans would hit 6 free throws in the final 3:07, along with big shots from Clarke, VanDuluitgaarden and Will VanAuken (Caledonia, NY/Caledonia-Mumford) would prove to be huge down the final stretch as D'Youville would defeat Alfred State by the final score of 80-73.
"It was a hard fought win," said Head Coach Earl Schunk. "It was great to see us hang in there and get a win in a day we didn't really play our best."
The freshman Jeremy VanDuluitgaarden led the team with a career high 22 points and 10 rebounds for the first double-double of his career. Jeremy went 3-6 from behind the arc and 7-9 from the line off the bench. Marcus Clarke, who leads the team in scoring this season, was the second highest scorer with 19 points. Clarke added 6 rebounds to go along with team a team high 5 assists and 3 steals.
Schunk has been very proud of his young players for stepping up and becoming a big part of the team early on in the season.
"I was really happy with the way the freshman have stepped up this year, and tonight is no exception," said Schunk.
Out of the team's 80 points, the four freshmen combined for 48 of them. Juan Miguel Rosales (Guatemala City, Guatemala/Village School) chipped in with 7 points and 3 rebounds off the bench in his first home game as a Spartan. Jake Socha had 15 points of his own and pulled in 8 rebounds. Senior and captain Nate Sweetman (Johnstown, NY/Johnstown) had continued to be a solid contributor in every statistic, scoring 3 points but grabbing 4 rebounds and dishing out 4 assists.
"We have one more game to get ready for the conference opener; we will need to execute better to be consistently successful," said Coach Schunk.
The men will travel to SUNY Canton this weekend and play the Kangaroos on Sunday, November 29th at 3pm.