Steubenville, OH – The D'Youville men's basketball team won their second conference game of the season with a come from behind victory on Saturday afternoon, defeating the Franciscan Barons 72-69.
Franciscan led what was a low-scoring game as they were ahead 7-5 through the first five minutes. The Barons then began to establish themselves on the defensive end, building their lead to 13-5. D'Youville would pull back to within a basket following a Devon Camel (Cheektowaga, NY/Cheektowaga) three with the Spartans trailing 13-10 after 10 minutes of play in the first half.
Following a Brian Nwaekeke (Corona, CA/John F. Kennedy) layup, the Spartans were able to make it a two-point game. Both teams went back and forth but the Barons were able to maintain their lead as the half neared an end. D'Youville trailed by their largest margin of eight with under a minute to go, but Jeremy VanDuluitgaarden (Verona, NY/Vernon-Verona-Sherrill) converted an and-one with just seconds left on the clock to put D'Youville down 31-26 at halftime.
Grant Beyer (Williamsville, NY/St. Joe's) and Simeon Heard (Rochester, NY/Charles Finney) combined to score the first nine points on the board in the second half as the Spartans took the lead from the Barons at 35-31. Franciscan made attempts to get the lead back as they trailed by two several times, but the Spartans would maintain their lead, extending it to four with 11:03 to go in regulation on a Camel made layup.
With a Nwaekeke three, D'Youville was able to open up their largest lead of the game at nine with 9:09 left on the clock. The Spartans continued to keep the Barons at an arm's length as they tried to get back into the game as their lead was up to eight with 3:30 remaining in the game.
In the final minutes of the game, the Barons would begin to heat up. They hit a three to trail by four with less than three minutes to go. They then hit a jumper to trail by two nearly a minute later. The Spartans were able to answer right away with a made layup from VanDuluitgaarden and a pair of free throws from Devon Darrell (Lockport, NY/Lockport). Franciscan then hit a three yet again to make it a three point game, but the D'Youville defense forced a key turnover that helped lead to more free throws for the Spartans. VanDuluitgaarden, Camel, and Heard all hit clutch free throws at the end of the game to clinch the game for D'Youville, giving them a 72-69 comeback victory.
"It was a great character building win for us," said head coach Earl Schunk. "We were down the entire first half, then came out and took the lead right away in the second half. We had to fight off several big shots by Franciscan and hung on for the victory. These are the kind of victories that have staying power. It gives us confidence that we can win tough games on the road."
Four Spartans scored in double-figures in the win. Heard and VanDulutigaarden led the team with 14 points each with the latter also leading the team with eight rebounds. Off the bench, Nwaekeke scored 13 points with five rebounds while Camel scored 11 points.
Darrell tallied eight points in the game to go with six rebounds and a team high five assists and four steals. Will VanAuken (Caledonia, NY/Caledonia-Mumford) added three rebounds with Jake Socha (Tonawanda, NY/Niagara Catholic) adding six. Brian Sharp (Newark, NY/Newark) recorded one steal in the game.
The next game for the undefeated Spartans will come next Saturday, December 8 as they host the La Roche Redhawks at 4:00pm.