Buffalo, NY – The D'Youville men's basketball team saw their playoff hopes fade away on Wednesday evening as the Pitt.-Bradford Panthers defeated the Spartans by the final score of 85-75.
Freshman Juan Miguel Rosales (Guatemala City, Guatemala/Village School) was the early driving force for the Spartans. After scoring the first basket of the game, Rosales went on to add five more points as D'Youville led 3:13 into the game by the score of 11-7. The Spartans began to heat up from behind the arc with Zach Black (Portville, NY/Portville) and Marcus Clarke (Olean, NY/Archbishop Walsh Academy) hitting back-to-back threes and extending the lead to nine.
Jeremy VanDuluitgaarden (Oneida, NY/Vernon-Verona-Sherrill) began to carry the Spartan's offense mid-way through the first half, scoring seven consecutive points. Bradford closed the gap to two points with 8:10 remaining in the half. However, VanDuluitgaarden would stay hot and score two straight baskets to extend the lead to five, with both baskets being assisted by Jon Gemerek (Cheektowaga, NY/Depew).
D'Youville's offense would then go cold for a few minutes. Leading by two, VanDuluitgaarden and Clarke would give their team some breathing room and open up a six point lead. The Panthers would answer with four free-throws with less than two minutes left in the half and the teams would go into the lockerroom with D'Youville lading Bradford by the score of 42-40.
The Panthers would tie the game with their first basket of the half, and then take the lead on their next possession. At the 14:44 mark in the second half, Bradford would open up their largest lead of the game at nine. Sophomore Steve Kunelius (Oswego, NY/Oswego) would begin to shoulder the offensive load for the Spartans, hitting his second three of the game with 12:18 left in the game and cut the deficit to six.
Bradford would take a 10-point lead just under two minutes later, but the Spartans would remain in sight of the lead. Clarke scored six points over the next several minutes and the D'Youville would trail by 12 with 4:31 remaining in the game. The Spartans would keep the game to within 10 points, but it wasn't enough as the team would lose the the Panthers by the final score of 85-75.
D'Youville's top three scorers all came off the bench in Wednesday's game. Steve Kunelius led the team with 17 points, followed by 16 from Jeremy VanDuluitgaarden and 15 from Marcus Clarke. Three players tied for the team lead in rebounding with four and three players tied with three assists. Zach Blask had a team high three steals.
The Spartans will close out their home schedule on Saturday, February 13th at 1pm against the Penn State-Altoona Lions. Before the game begins, the team's four seniors will be honored for their careers as D'Youville men's basketball players.