Nwaekeke, VanDuluitgaarden Combine for 53 in Nailbiter against Medaille

Nwaekeke, VanDuluitgaarden Combine for 53 in Nailbiter against Medaille

Buffalo, NY - The D'Youville men's basketball team lost their final home game of the season in a 40-minute battle against the Medaille Mavericks Wednesday evening, falling by the score of 92-89.

D'Youville was very strong on both ends of the court in the first half. Tied at 2-2, the Spartans went on a 16-4 run with Brian Nwaekeke (Corona, CA/John F. Kennedy) scoring seven points and Jeremy VanDuluitgaarden (Verona, NY/Vernon-Verona-Sherrill) scoring five. The lead would grow to 13 on a Steve Kunelius (Oswego, NY/Oswego) three before the Mavericks would begin to put themselves back into the game.

Following Kunelius' three giving the Spartans a 21-8 advantage, Medaille would score 11 unanswered to trail by just two. Just a few minutes alter, they would end up tying the game at 27-27 on a made three and then take the lead with 6:59 to go in the half on a made layup. The two teams would remain at most three points apart from each other until the 3:01 mark where Medaille made three free throws for a 41-35 lead. The Mavericks then went ahead by nine with 0:39 to go in the half but Jagdeep Drumgoole (Rochester, NY/Early College) hit a free throw to send the Spartans into the half trailing 50-42.

To open the second half, the Spartans heated up from beyond the arc and pulled their deficit to within two. Juan Miguel Rosales (Guatemala City, Guatemala/Village School) and VanDuluitgaarden each hit threes after a Nwaekeke layup to make it a 52-50 game. Following two VanDuluitgaarden layups, the Spartans tied the game at 54-54 to quickly erase their deficit just over two minutes into the second half.

For the next five minutes, neither team had more than a three-point lead at any time. Medaille was able to break that streak but taking a five-point lead on a made three at the 12:37 mark and increased their lead to six just over a minute later. The battle continued to ensue as the Mavericks were able to go up eight, but the Spartans battled back to trail by two after a Kunelius made three. On D'Youville's next possession, they tied the game at 77-77 with two Nwaekeke free throws.

With 5:19 to go in the game, Rosales gave the Spartans the lead back on a layup just to have Medaille tie it on the Maverick's next possession. However VanDuluitgaarden then drilled a three sending D'Youville ahead. In the final three minutes, the score discrepancy was at most three as Medaille led 90-87 with 1:25 remaining. Rosales scored on a layup with under a minute to go, making it a one-point game. The Mavericks then regained their three-point lead with a pair of free throws.

With just 0:05 to go in the game, D'Youville forced a huge turnover on a massive defensive play on the Medaille end of the court, giving the Spartans one final chance to tie the game. Unfortunately, D'Youville missed a game-tying three attempt and an ensuing layup to fall to the Mavericks by the final score of 92-89.

"It was a tough, hard fought game," said head coach Earl Schunk. "Even though the game went down to the last shot, I believe that the last eight minutes of the first half essentially cost us the game. We had control of the game for much of the first half and made some defensive mistakes that put us down at halftime. I loved the way we kept fighting back, and we are establishing the way we need to play Saturday and on to next season."

The offensive load was shouldered primarily by three players in the game. VanDuluitgaarden scored a team-high 27 points, adding seven boards and two assists. Nwaekeke was a force on both ends of the court all evening, scoring a career high 26 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Also recording a double-double was Rosales with 13 points and a team high 15 boards.

Darrius Hartzog (Rochester, NY/Wilson Magnet) had a very good game distributing the ball as he had a team leading seven assists. Will VanAuken (Caledonia, NY/Caledonia-Mumford) recorded three points with four assists and three rebounds. Off the bench, Kunelius had eight points and four boards. Devon Camel (Cheektowaga, NY/Cheektowaga) had four points while Drumgoole had one. Wanya Bruce (Rochester, NY/Fairport) provided valuable minutes as well.

D'Youville will conclude their season this Saturday, February 17 as they travel to La Roche. Game-time is 2:00pm.