Buffalo, NY – The D'Youville men's basketball team fell to cross-town rivals Medaille on Wednesday evening in the College Center Gym by the final score of 96-84.
The Mavericks took an early lead over the Spartans but D'Youville came back to the tune of 8 unanswered points thanks to 5 points from Jake Socha (Tonawanda, NY/Niagara Catholic) and a three-pointer from Jon Gemerek (Cheektowaga, NY/Depew). Medaille retook the lead at 13-10 with 4:50 passed by in the first half. The Spartans would tie the game but Medaille would retake the lead and extend it to 7 with 12:07 to go in the half.
Medaille opened up their largest lead of the half at 9 with 10 minutes remaining in the half. Under a minute later, the Spartans cut the lead to 6 but the Mavericks would again start scoring in volume. With 7:17 to go, Medaille pushed their lead back up to 11 and held that lead for the next several minutes. D'Youville brought their deficit to 38-34 after a Bayani Salinas (Antioch, CA/Antioch) layup.
With 1:09 to go in the half, Medaille took a 42-35 lead but Zach Blask (Portville, NY/Portville) sank a three-pointer and the Maverick lead was cut to 4. The half ended with two Medaille free throws and the Mavericks would take a 44-38 lead into the half.
D'Youville opened up the second half with back-to-back layups, closing their deficit to 44-42. Medaille regained a 7 point lead 3:18 into the second half, but would then extend the lead to 10 just a few minutes later. With 10:02 remaining in the game, Medaille pulled out to their largest lead of the game over the Spartans, leading 72-56.
Despite being down by 16, the Spartans worked to get back in the game. Gemerek hit a three-pointer with 7:21 cutting the Maverick lead to 11. Senior Conor Gallivan (Elma, NY/Iroquois) hit a three to bring the score to 75-66 Medaille with 5:43 to go. The 9 point deficit would be the closest the Spartans would come to the lead as Medaille would defeat D'Youville by the final score of 96-84.
"We need to play much better defensively if we want to win important games," said Head Coach Earl Schunk. "Medaille did a good job knocking down open shots, and frankly we didn't."
Senior Jon Gemerek was the team's leading scorer with 16 points on the night he was honored for scoring his 1,000th point. Freshman Jake Socha followed with 12 points and sophomores Zach Blask and Steve Kunelius (Oswego, NY/Oswego) each had 11.
Freshman Will VanAuken (Caledonia, NY/Caledonia-Mumford) had 9 points and 9 rebounds with Nate Sweetman (Johnstown, NY/Johnstown) dishing out a team high 8 assists. All but 1 of the 11 players who saw action for the Spartans collected at least 2 rebounds. All but 1 player also recorded an assist.
Marcus Clarke (Olean, NY/Archbishop Walsh Academy) had 9 points, 4 assists and 2 rebounds in the game. All 5 starters had at least 1 steal, 2 rebounds and 5 points.
The Spartan's defense was a point of weakness Wednesday evening, according to Coach Schunk. He hopes the team will correct it's miscues moving forward.
"If you had told me we were going to take 90 shots, including 47 three-pointers, I'd have bet we'd scored 100," said Schunk. "Still our defense needs to improve right away," he continued.
Coach Schunk and the Spartans will have an opportunity right their defense on Saturday, January 9th at 1pm against Mount Aloysius. The game kicks off a back-to-back weekend with D'Youville playing Mount Aloysius on Saturday and Franciscan on Sunday.