Buffalo, NY – The D'Youville men's basketball team saw their fortunes change on Wednesday night as they took down the Penn State-Behrend Lions for the first time in program history, defeating the Lions 73-71.
Behrend was in control of the game through the first few minutes of play in the game. A Devon Darrell (Lockport, NY/Lockport) jumper made it a three-point game at 10-7 before the Lions would go up by seven at 14-7. Darrell would then score five straight points for the Spartans to make it at two-point game with 6:11 played in the game.
Strong ball movement gave the Lions a six-point advantage before Jeremy VanDuluitgaarden (Verona, NY/Vernon-Verona-Sherrill) made a reverse layup to cut the deficit to four. It became a three-point game with a Simeon Heard (Rochester, NY/Charles Finney) layup with 9:17 to go in the first at 26-23. Will VanAuken (Caledonia, NY/Caledonia-Mumford) recorded a huge block at the rim to force a Behrend timeout that resulted in four straight points for the Spartans and their first lead of the game at 27-26.
The lead would go back and forth over the next several minutes as D'Youville held a 31-30 lead with over three minutes to go in the half. Brian Sharp (Newark, NY/Newark) had a nice drive to the basket to increase the lead to three, but the Lions answered with a three to tie the game at 33 all. Down by three going into the final seconds of the half, Darrell hit a three as the buzzer sounded and the two teams went into the half tied at 38-38.
Behrend came out in the second half and took a five-point lead on a made three-pointer after 3:25 of play. That lead grew to seven with 11:46 to go in the game but a Darrell layup made it a five-point game again on the next possession. The Lions would increase their lead to eight with fewer than 10 to go, leading 58-50.
With 7:25 to go, the Lions opened up their largest lead of the game at 62-52. VanDuluitgaarden converted an and-one with 5:38 in regulation to trim the lead to eight. Sharp drilled a three with under for to go, but the Lions came back with a three of their own to make their lead 71-63 over the Spartans. Grant Beyer (Williamsville, NY/St. Joe's) drilled a deep three to make it a five-point game. VanDuluitgaarden then hit a jumper to shrink the team's deficit to three.
The D'Youville defense came up big in the final two minutes, forcing a shot clock violation. VanDuluitgaarden made a huge layup with 0:38.4 left in regulation, putting D'Youville down by one. After a great defensive stand by the team and an outstanding individual effort from Devon Camel (Cheektowaga, NY/Cheektowaga), the Spartans went back the other way and Darrell hit the go-ahead layup with 0:03.5 remaining.
On the ensuing inbounds play, VanAuken picked off the ball and went to the line. He drilled the second of the two free throws to put D'Youville up 73-71. On the next inbounds play, VanDuluitgaarden swatted the ball and wore down the clock, giving the Spartans a massive 73-71 victory over the Lions.
"This was a huge win for us, especially after the heartbreaking way we have lost the last three games," said head coach Earl Schunk. "Penn State-Behrend has been an excellent team over the years and for my guys to overcome a late deficit to pull out a win is really big."
Darrell led the team with 21 points to lead the team; a new career high in addition to hitting the game winner. VanDuluitgaarden added 19 points with nine rebounds and five assists. Beyer added three points, five assists, and three rebounds while Heard came in clutch with 10 points and three assists off the bench.
Camel scored seven points with two boards but played incredible defense throughout the game. VanAuken added four points including a huge free throw at the end of the game with his five rebounds and three assists. Jagdeep Drumgoole (Rochester, NY/Early College) scored two points while Sharp added five. Brian Nwaekeke (Corona, CA/John F. Kennedy) contributed two points and three rebounds.
D'Youville's defense was massive in the win. Coach Schunk recognized that their ability to stop Behrend in key moments helped lead to the victory.
"Our defense locked in over the last three minutes and we made some really big shots to pull out the win. A lot of guys who normally have big offensive stats stepped up big time on defense."
The win was the first in program history over Penn State-Behrend for D'Youville. Their previous record was 0-20 against their conference opponents.
The next game for the men comes this Saturday, January 12 as the men travel to Mount Aloysius to face the Mounties at 3:00pm.