Buffalo, NY – The D'Youville men's basketball team won their third straight game Wednesday evening, defeating the Alfred State Pioneers by the final score of 74-69.
Both teams were slow to start on offense as the score was tied 2-2 through 2:20 of action. Alfred State pulled ahead 6-4 before a Will VanAuken (Caledonia, NY/Caledonia-Mumford) three to give D'Yovulle the lead. The Pioneers then went ahead 10-7 and then 12-11 until Juan Miguel Rosales (Guatemala City, Guatemala/Village School) hit a jumper to give the Spartans a 13-12 lead. The score remained close as the Pioneers trailed by one with 10:45 to go in the half, but Steve Kunelius (Oswego, NY/Oswego) hit a three to push the Spartan lead to four.
Following Kunelius' three, Wanya Bruce (Rochester, NY/Fairport) drilled a three of his own to make the lead seven. However Alfred State came back to tie the game at 21-21 before the Spartans would go on a 10-0 run with 5:08 remaining in the half. The Pioneers would begin to chip away at their 10-point deficit until they came back to trail 33-32 with under two minutes until halftime. A VanAuken layup with 0:42 on the clock, giving D'Youville a three-point lead going into the half at 35-32.
The Spartans opened up the second half by pushing their lead to seven after another Rosales layup. That lead shrunk to three points and then two after a pair of Pioneer free throws 5:52 into the half. D'Youville was not able to create a large lead over Alfred State, but they were able to stop them from tying the game or taking the lead. Each time the Pioneers would attempt to tie the game or take the lead early in the second half, the Spartans would answer right back.
However with 8:00 left in the game, Alfred State pulled to within one at 56-55. On their next possession, D'Youville finally surrendered the lead on a layup to go down one, but Darrius Hartzog (Rochester, NY/Wilson Magnet) answered on the next trip down the court with a deep three to give the Spartans the lead back at 59-57. With less than seven to go in the game, the two teams were deadlocked at 59-59 and 62-62 before D'Youville was able to finally claim the lead back and turn it into a four-point advantage.
With Alfred State making it a one-possession game by trailing 68-65, Rosales made a layup to make it a two-possession game once again. A Pioneer layup made it one-possession game with 1:28 to go in regulation, but Rosales continued to be the engine of the D'Youville offense with two free throws for a 72-67 lead. On the next possession for Alfred State, they lined up for an open three before Rosales closed out to the three-point line and blocked the three with 0:13 remaining in the game. A foul followed the block as Simeon Heard (Rochester, NY/Charles Finney) sank two more free throws and the Spartans went on to with the thrilling second meeting between the two teams 74-69.
"This was a nice win for us," said head coach Earl Schunk. "It keeps our momentum going and prepares us for the rest of our conference schedule. Alfred State is a very good team with quickness at all five positions. They tested us and we were fortunate to pass the test. I told my guys after the game the sign of a good team is when the team wins a game where they don't play their best. That is what we accomplished today and I'm proud of that."
Rosales continued to be on a tear for the men, leading the team with a career high 24 points, adding five rebounds. Heard added 14 points and four rebounds in the game while VanAuken scored 10 points with five rebounds and four assists in a team high 34 minutes. Brian Nwakeke (Corona, CA/John F. Kennedy) scored nine with six rebounds and four assists as well.
Off the bench, Bruce, Hartzog, Kunelius, and Jake Socha (Tonawanda, NY/Niagara Catholic) contributed 17 points and 11 rebounds combined. Jagdeep Drumgoole (Rochester, NY/Early College) and Devon Camel (Cheektowaga, NY/Cheektowaga) each played important roles on slowing down the quick Alfred State offense.
The next game for the Spartans comes this Saturday, January 13 as they host the La Roche Redhawks at 2:00pm.