Houghton, NY – The D'Youville men's basketball team lost their final non-conference game of the season on Wednesday evening, falling to the host Houghton Highlanders by the final score of 100-96.
Houghton took control of the game early on with an 11-4 lead after 4:20 of play. A pair of threes from Marcus Clarke (Olean, NY/Archbishop Walsh Academy) and Steve Kunelius (Oswego, NY/Oswego) closed the gap to four just under two minutes later. Jeremy VanDuluitgaarden (Oneida, NY/Vernon-Verona-Sherrill) made it a three point game over a minute later before the Highlanders would begin to pull away.
With 7:28 remaining in the half, Houghton was up by nine before Clarke and Jake Socha (Tonawanda, NY/Niagara Catholic) brought the game to within three. Will VanAuken (Caledonia, NY/Caledonia-Mumford) converted an and-one play and the Spartans trailed 33-30 with 4:28 remaining in the first. Up by one with 2:31 left, Houghton scored seven unanswered points and would carry their momentum into halftime leading 47-38 over D'Youville.
Starting the second half, Socha was determined to keep the Spartans in the game by scoring their first six points and bringing the deficit to four. Houghton would return to a seven point lead but D'Youville wouldn't go away, trailing by four with 15:34 remaining in the game. However, nearly three minutes later the Highlanders would open up their largest lead of the game at 18.
After trailing by double-digits for the next several minutes, a Socha layup pulled the Spartans to within nine with 5:18 to go in the game. Zach Blask (Portville, NY/Portville) made it a five point game under a minute later. With 1:33 remaining, VanAuken hit a three to make it a four point game, but the D'Youville run was too late as Houghton would go on to defeat the Spartans by the final of 100-96.
"We did a great job coming back but getting down 15 forced us to make every play at the end," said Head Coach Earl Schunk. "We almost got there but didn't quite get all the way back."
Freshman Jake Socha recorded his second career double-double on Wednesday evening. The 6-7 forward scored a career high 23 points to go with 11 rebounds, which is tied for his career high. He led the team in both categories. Will VanAuken also scored a career high in points with 15. Three other players scored in double figures with Marcus Clarke and Juan Miguel Rosales (Guatemala City, Guatemala/Village School) each scoring 13 and Jeremy VanDuluitgaarden scoring 10.
Jon Gemerek (Cheektowaga, NY/Depew) added nine points in the game. Off the bench, Zach Blask brought in six rebounds to go with his three assists. Clarke led the team with five assists.
The men will close out their season on Saturday, February 20th as D'Youville travels to Franciscan to play the Barons at 1pm.