Altoona, PA – The D'Youville men's basketball team suffered their third consecutive conference loss Sunday afternoon, falling to the Penn State-Altoona Lions 80-70.
D'Youville had a balanced scoring attack to begin the game. Four different players combined for the first 11 points by the team as they took an 11-8 lead after a pair of Bayani Salinas (Antioch, CA/Antioch) free throws. Juan Miguel Rosales (Guatemala City, Guatemala/Village School) came into the game and took over midway through the first half. He scored eight straight points for the Spartans, extending their lead to 21-14 with 8:50 elapsed off the game clock.
As the first half went on, Altoona began to work down the D'Youville lead. The Lions got to within one point at 21-20 but then the Spartans rebuilt a seven point lead with two Jeremy VanDuluitgaarden (Oneida, NY/Vernon-Verona-Sherrill) free throws. Altoona was back within five with 2:47 to go in the half, but Simeon Heard (Rochester, NY/Charles Finney) and Jake Socha (Tonawanda, NY/Niagara Catholic) closed out the half with the last two baskets for D'Youville and the Spartans went into the half with a 39-31 lead.
Altoona came out in the second half determined to erase the D'Youville lead; and they did just that. The Lions scored the first 11 points of the half to take a 42-39 advantage. They would build a five-point lead nearly six minutes into the half, but VanDuluitgaarden would trim that lead to two about a minute and a half later. That lead would grow back to seven with 11:28 remaining in the game.
The Spartans hung around Altoona consistently during the middle of the half. They were down by one after a VanDuluitgaarden dunk and then down one again following a Heard layup. Heard then hit a pair of free throws to go up 62-61 over the Lions with 6:37 left in the game, the team's first lead since the early goings of the second half. Retaking the lead, Altoona again went up by three with 2:09 left on the clock. Despite D'Youville hanging around, the Lions were able to make several clutch free throws and build a larger lead at the end of the game. Altoona would go on to defeat the Spartans by the final game of 80-70.
"We played a good first half, but missed too many shots and made too many defensive mistakes at inopportune times," said head coach Earl Schunk. "We need to fix this, and soon."
Sophomores Socha and VanDuluitgaarden each recorded double-doubles in the game. Socha recorded a team high 22 points with 10 rebounds while VanDuluitgaarden scored 16 points with 10 rebounds of his own. Salinas and Zach Blask (Portville, NY/Portville) each recorded a team high five assists in the game.
Off the bench, Heard led the team with nine points while Rosales scored eight. Steve Kunelius (Oswego, NY/Oswego) added three rebounds.
The men will host Medaille next on Wednesday, January 18th at 8pm.