Buffalo, NY - The D'Youville men's basketball team tipped off their season on Tuesday evening as they hosted the RIT, ultimately losing to the Tigers by the final score of 97-82.
Both teams struggled in the early going of the first half. RIT led 6-2 just over four minutes into the game until Zach Blask (Portville, NY/Portville) drilled a three to bring the score to 6-5. At the 10:52 mark, Juan Miguel Rosales (Guatemala City, Guatemala/Village School) gave the Spartans their first lead at 9-8.
The Tigers grabbed an eight point lead with just under eight minutes to go in the half. A pair of free throws from Jeremy VanDuluitgaarden (Onieda, NY/Vernon-Verona-Sherrill) to bring the score to 23-18 RIT. However, the Tigers would keep a safe lead through the rest of the half as they took a 38-28 lead into halftime.
D'Youville pulled back to within five in the beginning of the second with five straight points from VanDuluitgaarden. With 5:18 elapsed in the second half, the Tigers pulled out to a 14 point and held a double-digit lead for the next several minutes. Two Rosales free throws drew the Spartans back to within six with 8:02 to go in the game to make the game close.
Despite pulling back in striking distance of the Tigers, the Spartan offense was unable to get it even closer as RIT scored 17 unanswered points for a 83-62 lead. The Tigers would take their large lead through to the end of regulation, defeating D'Youville by the final of 97-82.
"It was good to get started, we were anxious for the season to start and it showed in the first half," said head coach Earl Schunk. "We calmed down and played our game in the second half, but could never make the one big stop or shot we needed."
VanDuluitgaarden led the team with 17 points, going 10-12 from the free throw line. He also dished out six assists, tied for the team high with Bayani Salinas (Antioch, CA/Antioch). Off the bench, freshman Darrius Hartzog (Rochester, NY/Wilson Magnet) scored 13 points in 22 minutes.
Jake Socha (Tonawanda, NY/Niagara Catholic) tied VanDuluitgaarden for the team lead in rebounds with five. Salinas led the team with four steals. Rosales had eight points off the bench with Will VanAuken (Caledonia, NY/Caledonia-Mumford) grabbing three boards off the bench.
Coach Schunk knows that it was a tough test for his young team to endure to begin the season, but they will be better for it down the stretch.
"We will only get better from playing a fine team like RIT," added Schunk.
The next pair of games for the men will come on Friday and Saturday as they travel to Allegheny College. On Friday the 18th, D'Youville will play Earlham at 3pm. On Saturday the 19th, the Spartans will go against SUNY New Paltz at 1pm.