Buffalo, NY – The D'Youville men's basketball team broke their losing streak on Saturday afternoon by defeating the Franciscan Barons by the final score of 75-66.
It was a low scoring affair through the first five minutes of the first half as Franciscan led D'Youville 11-6. Brian Nwaekeke (Corona, CA/John F. Kennedy) scored the next five points for the Spartans as they continued to trail by five at 16-11. After a Devon Camel (Cheektowaga, NY/Cheektowaga) free throw, Juan Miguel Rosales (Guatemala City, Guatemala/Village School) scored four consecutive points for D'Youville, tying the game at 16 with just over 10 minutes to go in the first.
Franciscan regained the lead over the Spartans, but Jeremy VanDuluitgaarden (Verona, NY/Vernon-Verona-Sherrill) drilled a three to tie the game followed by a Darrius Hartzog (Rochester, NY/Wilson Magnet) three to give the Spartans their first lead of the game with 6:36 to go. The Barons would again go back up over the Spartans late in the half, but Nwaekeke closed the deficit to two on a layup with 0:01 remaining in the half and Franciscan went into halftime leading 36-34.
D'Youville fell behind the Barons by seven to being the second half, with that deficit eventually growing to 10. With the Barons leading 48-38, the Spartans began to chip away at the lead basket-by-basket and they pulled to within one after back-to-back VanDuluitgaarden jumpers. As the clock ticked on, D'Youville was finally able to get back out in front after VanDuluitgaarden and Simeon Heard (Rochester, NY/Charles Finney) combined for seven points for a 55-53 lead.
With 6:00 to go in the game, Nwaekeke scored his second of two consecutive layups before Heard and VanDuluitgaarden again helped keep D'Youville out front. A VanDuluitgaarden three made it a six-point game, but Franciscan game back down the court to make it a one-possession game again on a made three. Heard then extended the lead to five on a made layup with 3:45 to go. Just as the clock neared three minutes to go in the game, VanDuluitgaarden drove down the baseline and put down a two-handed slam over the Baron defender for a five-point advantage again for the Spartans.
In the final 1:07, Heard helped clinch the game with four clutch free throws. Rosales added a layup to keep the team's nine-point lead and the Spartans would win by that same lead, defeating Franciscan by the final score of 75-66.
"I was really proud of the way we defended and executed in the last 10 minutes," said head coach Earl Schunk. "A lot of my guys stepped up in big moments and I think this will have a carry over effect in the future."
VanDuluitgaarden led the team with 22 points in the game, adding seven rebounds. Nwaekeke led the starters with 15 points and all Spartans with eight rebounds and three assists. Heard recorded 12 points with six rebounds as Rosales scored 14 points and seven rebounds. Will VanAuken (Caledonia, NY/Caledonia-Mumford) scored four points with a team high three steals and Hartzog scored seven points. Steve Kunelius (Oswego, NY/Oswego) added two points and two rebounds in the game.
The men will host their final home game of the season this Wednesday, February 14 as the Medaille Mavericks visit the College Center Gym at 6:00pm.