Alfred, NY – The D'Youville men's basketball team (0-1) opened their 2017-18 season on the road Friday afternoon and was defeated by the Alfred University Saxons by the final score of 80-77.
A pair of layups got the Spartans started on offense in the first half as they trailed the Saxons 5-4. Alfred University extended their lead to nine over the next several minutes before Devon Camel (Cheektowaga, NY/Cheektowaga) got the offense going for D'Youville, scoring four consecutive points to bring the deficit to seven. However the Saxons would then go back up by 10 and then extend the lead to 12 with less than nine minutes remaining in the first half.
The Spartan's offense began to get going as the first wore down. A Jagdeep Drumgoole (Rochester, NY/Early College) hit a free throw and then a three-pointer to make it a 10-point game. Jeremy VanDuluitgaarden (Verona, NY/Vernon-Verona-Sherrill) then hit a free throw with three points from Juan Miguel Rosales (Guatemala City, Guatemala/Village School) to make it a seven-point game. The next seven points were scored by Drumgoole and Brian Nwakeke (Corona, CA/John F. Kennedy) as D'Youville capped off their 16-4 run by taking a 34-33 lead over Alfred U.
In the final 1:13 of the half, the Saxons retook the lead but Nwakeke tied it up again with a pair of free throws. A late Will VanAuken (Caledonia, NY/Caledonia-Mumford) three kept it a one-point game going into the half as Alfred U led D'Youville 40-39.
After tying the game to begin the half, the Spartans fell behind the Saxons by six at 50-44 with just fewer than five minutes elapsed in the second. D'Youville did a great job of keeping the game close each time their opposition attempted to pull away. Down by six twice, Drumgoole and Wanya Bruce (Rochester, NY/Fairport) hit big threes the keep it within three.
The game remained close throughout the game as the Spartans trailed by seven with less than six minutes remaining in the game. Simeon Heard (Rochester, NY/Bishop Kearney) hit a big three to draw the game to within four, but the Saxons were able to put some more space between the teams.
Trailing by nine at 79-70 with just over two minutes remaining, D'Youville mounted a comeback. Heard had a layup and three combined with a Rosales layup to bring the score to within two at 79-77 with 0:45 seconds remaining in the game. Alfred U hit made a free throw with 0:12 left on the clock to make it a three point game. The Spartans had a late look to send the game to overtime, but the Saxons held on to win the game 80-77.
"We fought hard all game did a lot of good things," said head coach Earl Schunk. "We need to execute better in the clutch and make free throws to win the close ones."
Nwakeke led the team in both scoring and rebounding with 16 points and 11 rebounds for his first double-double of the season. Three different players scored 11 points, with Heard and Rosales each scoring double-figures. Drumgoole recorded 11 points off the bench to lead all reserve players. Jake Socha (Tonawanda, NY/Niagara Catholic) added four points and four rebounds off the bench with Camel and Bruce each adding five points.
D'Youville will play their second game of the Special Tees Tournament at Alfred University on Saturday, November 18 as they play Alfred State at 2:00pm.