Buffalo, NY – The D'Youville men's basketball team suffered a tough loss in the final seconds against the RIT Tigers on Wednesday afternoon, falling by the final score of 77-76.
Devon Camel (Cheektowaga, NY/Cheektowaga) was nearly impossible to stop in the first half for the Spartans. He scored 12 of the first 18 points for D'Youville with Jeremy VanDuluitgaarden (Verona, NY/Vernon-Verona-Sherrill) scoring the other six as the Spartans led 18-13 after 6:40 of game action.
The Spartans then began to gain contributions from two fellow seniors as Jake Socha (Tonawanda, NY/Niagara Catholic) hit a three and Will VanAuken (Caledonia, NY/Caledonia-Mumford) put in a layup with D'Youville out in front of the Tigers 25-17. RIT then scored six unanswered to trail by two with 7:17 to go in the first half, but Camel stayed red hot as he pushed the score back up to three.
VanDuluitgaarden would then shoulder the scoring load for the men with seven consecutive points to build up a seven-point lead for the Spartans as he was able to score at the line, in the paint, and from mid-range. The Tigers would add a free throw with 1:21 to go in the half to bring the score to 35-30 in favor of D'Youville after 20 minutes.
RIT came out firing in the second as they took over the lead from D'Youville after two and-a-half minutes. The Spartans would regain the lead, but the Tigers would continue to answer as the teams went back and forth in terms of the lead.
Down by two, RIT would score eight unanswered to take a 48-42 lead over the Spartans. D'Youville would battle back to trail by one but they would then fall behind by eight with 8:48 to go in regulation. Over the next several minutes, the Spartans would begin to put their offensive game plan to work as they came back to tie the game and would take the lead on a Grant Beyer (Williamsville, NY/St. Joe's) layup.
Over the next series of possessions, D'Youville would maintain their lead and make it a five-point game with 2:02 to go. Leading by eight at 76-68 following two Devon Darrell (Lockport, NY/Lockport) free throws, the Spartans were in control with 0:58 remaining on the clock. Unfortunately for D'Youville, RIT would not go quietly with back-to-back threes to bring the score within a point. After an unfortunate turnover, the Tigers capitalized with an and-one conversion to take the lead with 0:04 to go.
D'Youville was unable to get a quality look off in the final second of the game and they suffered their first loss of 2019 by the final score of 77-76.
"It was quite a bizarre and disappointing ending but honestly we are fine," said head coach Earl Schunk following the heartbreaking loss. "We did everything we needed to do, and outplayed them. My best player got the ball in the perfect spot and strange stuff happened. This is why we start the second semester with a non-conference game so we can get the kinks out. We will be better for this experience."
Following a career game against Lewis & Clark prior to winter break, Camel rewarded Schunk's decision to insert him into the starting lineup by scoring a new career high of 24 points with six rebounds by going 9-11 from the field and 6-9 from the line. Leading the way in the point column was VanDuluitgaarden with a team high 26 points, adding eight rebounds. VanAuken also contributed eight boards while Beyer had nine points with a team high three assists.
Darrell added five points in his first game back from injury with Simeon Heard (Rochester, NY/Charles Finney) adding fur points and five boards. Socha tallied three points with Brian Nwaekeke (Corona, CA/John F. Kennedy) adding two. Brian Sharp (Newark, NY/Newark) and Jagdeep Drumgoole (Rochester, NY/Early College) each saw quality minutes.
The Spartans will resume conference play this Saturday, January 5 as they host the Penn State-Altoona Lions at 3:00pm.