Steubenville, OH – The D'Youville men's basketball team began the new year with a bang on Saturday afternoon, defeating the Franciscan Barons by the final score of 75-66.
Franciscan was out in front early over the Spartans with an 8-4 lead after nearly three minutes of play. D'Youville would come back tie the game at 8-8 and then tie the game again at 10-10. Neither team was able to build a sustainable lead in the first half, but D'Youville was able to grab the lead back and build it up by four after a Darrius Hartzog (Rochester, NY/Wilson Magnet) three.
With less than eight minutes to go in the first half, the Barons pulled back to within one point at 21-20 and then retake the lead just a few seconds later at 22-21. The two teams traded baskets as the game neared halftime, with D'Youville taking a four-point lead after back-to-back baskets from Simeon Heard (Rochester, NY/Charles Finney). That lead grew to seven with under four minutes left, but that lead shrunk back down to four with 1:08 to go in the half. Holding onto that lead, the Spartans would go into halftime up over the Barons by the score of 40-36.
It wasn't before long that D'Youville doubled their halftime lead to eight in the second half after a Brian Nwaekeke (Corona, CA/John F. Kennedy) layup. Despite pulling back to a four-point deficit, the Spartans were able to maintain at least a four-point lead over the Barons for the remaining duration of the game. With just under eight minutes elapsed in the second half, the men went up 54-48 and limited Franciscan to just four points over the next three-minutes plus.
Despite holding the lead for the duration of the second half, the Barons would not go away. They were again within four of the Spartan's lead after a made three, trailing 64-40 with 6:08 to go in the game. The lead was again at four for D'Youville at 68-64 with 4:15 remaining, but the Spartans began pulling away as the game wore down. Juan Miguel Rosales (Guatemala City, Guatemala/Village School) sank a pair of free throws with 1:17 on the clock to send the men up eight. Rosales added two more free throws with under a minute on the clock to ice the game for D'Youville, giving them a 75-66 victory.
"It was great to get back at it after four weeks," said head coach Earl Schunk. "It was a hard fought game and we overcame a couple of injuries and foul trouble to pull it out. We defended well and shot well in the second half and that was the key to the win. We do need to tighten up our execution on both ends of the floor going forward, but we definitely brought a lot of intensity today."
The men had six players contribute eight or more points in the game, led by Heard with 16 points. Rosales added 14 points while Nwakeke contributed 10 points and a team high eight rebounds. Off the bench, Jake Socha (Tonawanda, NY/Niagara Catholic) added nine points with Hartzog contributing eight.
In his first start of the season, Devon Camel (Cheektowaga, NY/Cheektowaga) came up with a big nine points and three rebounds. Will VanAuken (Caledonia, NY/Caledonia-Mumford) had four points and six rebounds in the game. Wanya Bruce (Rochester, NY/Fairport) had two points and two rebounds in the game, while Steve Kunelius (Owego, NY/Oswego) had three points and Jagdeep Drumgoole (Rochester, NY/Early College) added an assist.
D'Youville will have a quick turnaround to build off their first conference win of the season as they host the Pitt.-Bradford Panthers on Monday, January 8 at 6:00pm.