Buffalo, NY – The D'Youville men's basketball team lost a tightly contested game on Wednesday evening, falling to the Medaille Mavericks by the final score of 82-77.
Juan Miguel Rosales (Guatemala City, Guatemala/Village School) was the offense early in the first half for D'Youville. He scored the first six points for the Spartans, leading the men to a 6-3 lead. That lead continued to grow over the next several minutes as Brian Nwaekeke (Corona, CA/John F. Kennedy) added four points and Simeon Heard (Rochester, NY/Charles Finney) added two, giving the Spartans a 14-3 lead. That lead came back to single digits at 19-10 as Medaille began to chip away at D'Youville. With just over 10 minutes remaining in the half, the Mavericks made it a five-point game at 21-16.
With 8:45 to go in the first half, Medaille came all the way back to tie the game up at 21. The Mavericks would go on to take the lead, but D'Youville was able to take it right back. On four straight possessions, the lead changed between the two teams. With 5:52 to go, Heard scored a layup that gave D'Youville the lead back by one. Jeremy VanDuluitgaarden (Verona, NY/Vernon-Verona-Sherrill) hit a pair of free throws combined with another Heard layup to give D'Youvlle a five-point lead with under four to go. The Spartans were able to keep their lead over Medaille as the half ended with D'Youville leading 37-35.
The Spartans went up by six as the second half began. Heard, Rosales and Nawkeke each continued to make their mark on the offense with baskets to extend D'Youville's lead. Nearly five minutes into the half, Medaille was able to retake the lead by one, but then they grew their advantage to five. However, D'Youville would continue to hang around as they tied the game up at 52-52 with 10:07 remaining in the game.
Medaille again took over the lead and went up by six on a Maverick three. With 6:16 to go, Darrius Hartzog (Rochester, NY/Wilson Magnet) hit a three to make it a one-point game at 63-62. Just over two minutes later, the Spartans fell behind by six but Hartzog drilled another three to make it a one score game. D'Youville kept the score close and with under a minute to go, Nwakeke made it a three-point game once again. Heard then kept the score within three at 80-77 on a jumper with 0:17 to go, but Medaille hit two free throws with 0:13 left in regulation and would go on to win the game 82-77.
"We played with a lot of intensity and toughness and led the majority of the game," said head coach Earl Schunk. "They hit one or two more big shots that us and were the beneficiary of some breaks late in the game."
Heard had a very productive game for the Spartans. He led the team with 24 points, followed by Rosales with 16 points while both players grabbed five rebounds. Nwakeke recorded a double-double with 10 points and a team high 12 rebounds, with VanDuluitgaarden coming one point shy of a double-double in his first game back from injury with nine points and 10 rebounds. Will VanAuken (Caledonia, NY/Caledonia-Mumford) added 10 rebounds of his own.
Wanya Bruce (Rochester, NY/Fairport) scored four points while Hartzog scored nine, Steve Kunelius (Oswego, NY/Oswego) scored three, and Jagdeep Drumgoole (Rochester, NY/Early College) played valuable minutes. Devon Camel (Cheektowaga, NY/Cheektowaga) grabbed three rebounds in 17 minutes of action.
Coach Schunk was proud of his team despite losing the game to a conference rival.
"I was really proud of my guys tonight," he said. "We faced adversity several times in the game and even though we were shorthanded again, guys stepped up and did great things. We just needed one or two shots to fall at the right times. If we continue to play like this, I feel very good about the second half of the league schedule."
The next game for the men comes this Saturday, January 20 as they travel to Mount Aloysius to take on the Mounties at 1:00pm.