Buffalo, NY – The D'Youville men's basketball team battled to an overtime loss on Saturday afternoon, falling to the visiting Penn State-Altoona Lions by the final score of 95-90.
The two teams would trade leads five times in the first five minutes of play, with Altoona leading 15-14 after 4:35 of action. Juan Miguel Rosales (Guatemala City, Guatemala/Village School) would tie the game at 16 with a pair of made free throws and then give D'Youville the lead on a made layup the next possession. Both teams would continue to battle through the midway point of the first as a Bayani Salinas (Antioch, CA/Antioch) tied the game at 22-22 on a made jumper with 10:45 left in the half.
Salinas' jumper sparked a 10-0 run from the Spartans as they began to take control of the game. The Lions would pull to within five with 5:34 left and then again at the 1:14 mark, but D'Youville would close out the half strong. Four consecutive points from Rosales coupled with two Steve Kunelius (Oswego, NY/Oswego) free throws pushed the D'Youville lead to nine as the Spartans led the Lions 42-33 at the half.
Altoona was able to trim their deficit to three just under three minutes into the second half, but a Simeon Heard (Rochester, NY/Charles Finney) and-one brought the lead back up to six. D'Youville began to heat up from beyond the arc as Heard and Kunelius went back-to-back-to-back on threes for a 59-52 lead after 5:36 of play in the half. Both teams would go cold over the next several minutes as Heard hit a free throw with 10:33 on the clock for a seven-point lead.
Continuing to be persistent, the Lions tied the game up at 63-63 at the 8:25 mark and then took the lead a minute later. However D'Youville would hold Penn State scoreless for the next two minutes and take a 69-67 lead. The two teams began to trade leads once again, with the advantage in points going back-and-forth.
The Spartans recaptured a three-point lead just to see it taken away by Altoona with 1:15 left in regulation as the Lions took a 76-77 lead. Zach Blask (Portville, NY/Portville) then drilled two free throws just to be answered by two Altoona free throws. A made Rosales layup was met with a Lion free throw and the two teams heard the horn sound with the game tied at 80-80, heading to overtime.
The 5:00 overtime period began and Penn State took the early advantage. They went up 86-80 in the first 2:32 of play and were able to maintain some distance between them and the host Spartans. D'Youville was able to make the game 90-87 after trailing 90-82 thanks to two Rosales layups and a Darrius Hartzog (Rochester, NY/Wilson Magnet) free throw. With 0:17 to go, Blask hit a big three to make it a two-point game, but the Lions would get three big points in the final 0:15 and go on to win a thrilling contest by the final of 95-90.
"It was an incredibly intense, hard fought and frustrating game," said head coach Earl Schunk. "My guys fought very hard and deserved to win.If we keep playing like this, eventually we will figure it out."
D'Youville had four players in double-figures Saturday. Rosales led the team with 18 points, also grabbing eight rebounds. Kunelius and Jeremy VanDuluitgaarden (Oneida, NY/Vernon-Verona-Sherrill) each scored 13 points; while Jake Socha (Tonawanda, NY/Niagara Catholic) had a team high 12 rebounds with seven points. Blask had a team high seven assists to go with his 12 points.
Heard had a big 11 points in the game and grabbed a career high seven rebounds. Hartzog recorded four steals, four assists and nine points with Will VanAuken (Caledonia, NY/Caledonia Mumford) grabbing five rebounds with four assists and five points.
The men will next host the Hilbert Hawks on Wednesday, February 8 at 8pm.