Buffalo, NY – The D'Youville men's basketball team got in shootout against the Pitt.-Greensburg Bobcats on Saturday afternoon with their comeback ultimately falling short, losing by the final score 95-91.
Greensburg was out to an early 5-1 lead in the game before D'Youville's all-time leading scorer, Marcus Clarke (Olean, NY/Archbishop Walsh Academy), drilled a three to cut the game to 5-4. Clarke would go on to 4 of the next 6 points as the Spartans trailed 10-13 with 5:20 passed on the clock. On the team's next possession, Steve Kunelius (Oswego, NY/Oswego) tied the game on his first three of the day.
The Bobcats pulled away as the half went on, gaining a 24-17 lead with 10:21 to go in the half. Less than a minute later, Greensburg would extend their lead to 8 as they looked to grow their lead over the Spartans. Four points from Zach Blask (Portville, NY/Portville) closed the deficit to 4 and a layup from Jeremy VanDuluitgaarden (Oneida, NY/Vernon-Verona-Sherrill) then closed it to 3.
D'Youville continued to fight back and Blask tied the game at 31 with 6:22 left in the half on a made three. Two possessions later, Blask this time gave the Spartans the lead on his second three-pointer and D'Youville led 34-31 with 5:14 to go in half number one.
Pitt.-Greensburg retook the lead at 41-38 with less than 2 minutes remaining in the half, but Matt Insley (Wellsville, NY/Wellsville) tied the game up at 41 on a three. Nate Sweetman (Johnstown, NY/Johnstown) made a layup with 0:08 left in the half to bring the Spartans to within 1 point and trailed the Bobcats at halftime by the score of 46-45.
The Spartans opened up the half and immediately took the lead. VanDuluitgaarden drilled a three and D'Youville grabbed the 48-46 lead. Despite quickly grabbing the lead, Greensburg answered right back and would take control of the game. The Bobcats would go on a 16-1 scoring run over the next 4 minutes and take a commanding 64-49 lead.
Despite being down by double-digits, the Spartans never quit. D'Youville made three consecutive threes and trailed by 13 with 13:57 left in the game. Greensburg would again get up big, taking a 19 point lead. However, as the second half wore down, the Spartans pushed back against the Bobcats.
Jake Socha (Tonawanda, NY/Niagara Catholic) made a free throw with 6:09 and cut the deficit to 12. VanDuluitgaarden and Blask hit back-to-back to jumpers and Greensburg's lead was brought down to 8. Socha then made a layup with VanDuluitgaarden hitting another three-pointer and the Spartans closed the gap to 83-79 with 2:54 left in the game.
Just over a minute later, Blask made another jumper and the once 19-point buffer of Greensburg evaporated to a 2-point lead with 1:49 to go in the game. Clarke and Blask would keep D'Youville right on the doorstep of completing the comeback in the final 2 minutes with Clarke's layup bringing the Spartans to trail by 93-91, but Greensburg would hold on in the end to win the game 95-91.
"We had a very poor start to the second half on both ends of the floor," said Head Coach Earl Schunk. "Once we got focused and played some defense, we got going offensively as well."
Two games after he became the program's all-time leading scorer, senior Marcus Clarke tied for the team lead with 19 points. Zach Blask also added 19 points and team a team high 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Jeremy VanDuluitgaarden added 17 points in his return to the starting lineup, while Steve Kunelius had 17 points off the bench.
Bayani Salinas (Antioch, CA/Antioch) added 4 rebounds in the game, tying Jake Socha. All 5 starters had at least 3 rebounds in the game.
"I was really proud of the guys effort coming back; it's just tough to come back against a good team from that far back," added Schunk. "We almost got there though, and that tells me that we still have a shot at this. Nobody said that it would be easy."
The men will host their second game of their current three-game home stand on Wednesday, January 27th against Hilbert. Tipoff will be at 6pm in the College Center Gym.