Buffalo, NY - The D'Youville men's basketball team had a last second thriller on Saturday afternoon against La Roche with the Redhawks lsoing in dramatic fashion by the score of 68-67.
D'Youville's offense shared the ball well in the early goings of the first half. Senior Nate Sweetman (Johnstown, NY/Johnstown) was leading the early charge, assisting on 3 baskets. Five different Spartans accounted for the first 12 points for the team and they were out to 12-7 lead with 5:18 elapsed on the scoreboard. Back-to-back layups from freshmen Jeremy VanDuluitgaarden (Oneida, NY/Vernon-Verona-Sherrill) and Jake Socha (Tonawanda, NY/Niagara Catholic) gave the Spartans their largest lead of the half at 23-13 with 9:36 remaining in the half.
La Roche closed the gap with 6:48 to go and made the game 26-22 D'Youville on a made jumper. The Redhawks brought themselves within 1 at 32-31 on a made three-pointer with 2:07 to go in the half and then tied the game with 0:57 left. Neither team would score after that point and the two teams headed into the half tied 33-33.
The Spartans came out quickly in the second half, scoring the first 6 points. However, La Roche fought back and took a 42-41 lead with just over 4 minutes played in the half. A few minutes later, the Redhawks took their largest lead of the game at 54-47 over D'Youville and kept a 3-point advantage until 6:10 was left on the clock and VanDuluitgaarden tied the game at 59.
In the final 6 minutes of play, the two teams had 4 ties and 4 lead changes. going down to the wire. VanDuluitgaarden gave his team the lead from the line with 4:02 remaining in the game. Socha then extended the lead to 63-61 less than a minute later but La Roche would tie the game at 63 0:13 later.
With 0:51 to go, La Roche took a 66-63 lead but Marcus Clarke (Olean, NY/Archbishop Walsh Academy) cut into that lead with 2 free throws 0:09 later and the Spartans trailed by 1. Sweetman stepped to the line with 0:06 left in regulation and sank both free throws giving D'Youville the 67-66 lead. However, the next trip down the court La Roche tied the game at 67 and took the lead at 68 on free throws with 0:01 left and the Spartans fell to the Redhawks 68-67.
"It was probably the toughest loss we have experienced since I've been here," said Head Coach Earl Schunk. "We went from near celebration to agony in 5 seconds."
Jake Socha picked up a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, both team highs. Nate Sweetman added 8 points and a team high 6 assists. Juan Miguel Rosales (Guatemala City, Guatemala/Village School) had a team high 10 points off the bench to go with 6 rebounds. Senior Jon Gemerek (Cheektowaga, NY/Depew) chipped in with 9 points and 4 rebounds.
Steve Kunelius (Oswego, NY/Oswego) and Jeremy VanDuluitgaarden each added 7 points. Of the 11 Spartans who played, 10 scored and 10 players also accounted for at least 1 rebound.
"We needed to cash in our opportunities from the free throw line and shots in the paint so we could've had a buffer at the end," said Schunk. "It's on to Wednesday at Medaille."
D'Youville will travel to Medaille for their next game on Wednesday, February 3rd at 6pm.