Buffalo, NY – The D'Youville men's basketball team earned a big win on Wednesday evening, defeating the Pitt.-Bradford Panthers by the final score of 94-73.
D'Youville got out to a hot start from jump, leading 11-5 3:34 into the game following two Jeremy VanDuluitgaarden (Verona, NY/Vernon-Verona-Sherrill) free throws. Grant Beyer (Williamsville, NY/St. Joe's) then added a three and a layup to increase the Spartan lead to 18-7. Leading by 11 with 12:39 to go in the half, Brian Sharp (Newark, NY/Newark) came into the game and lit it up from three, sinking his first three from behind the arc to give D'Youville the 31-13 advantage.
Devon Camel (Cheektowaga, NY/Cheektowaga) sank a three to put the Spartans up 38-15 with 5:24 to go in the half. Jagdeep Drumgoole (Rochester, NY/Early College) drilled a three with 1:53 remaining in the first to increase the D'Youville lead to 49-23. To cap off a dominant first half, Beyer sank a buzzer-beating three to send the Spartans into halftime leading 54-29.
Nearly five minutes into the second half, the Spartans opened up a 29-point lead and were in control of the action at both ends of the court. After a pair of free throws from the Panthers, they pulled to within 23 at 64-41. They then added a three to make it a 20-point game with 12:55 to go in the game.
Bradford continued to challenge as they were with 16, but Brian Nwaekeke (Corona, CA/John F. Kennedy) put in a layup after an offensive board to put D'Youville out in front 67-49. Devon Darrell (Lockport, NY/Lockport) would start taking the ball to the paint over the next several minutes, scoring six of eight points for D'Youville to increase their lead to 24.
Kyle Ebert (Lake View, NY/Frontier) converted an and-one with 3:53 to go, bringing the D'Youville lead back up to 29. Bradford put forth a strong effort, but they were unable to match the Spartan's firepower as D'Youville went on to win by the final score of 94-73.
"We focused on coming out and establishing both ends of the court early," said head coach Earl Schunk. "I liked our intensity on defense, and our offense flowed from that. We had a really good shooting first half, but Pitt.-Bradford pushed us in the second half. They forced us to play all 40 minutes and it was a good lesson for us."
Beyer led the way for the men with a game high 24 points, adding five rebounds. VanDuluitgaarden came away with another double-double, scoring 10 points and grabbing a team high 15 boards. Camel added 15 points with Darrell scoring 14 with five assists and four steals. Will VanAuken (Caledonia, NY/Caledonia-Mumford) grabbed 10 rebounds to go with five points and three assists.
Off the bench, Sharp scored nine points while Drumgoole scored nine and Ebert tallied three. Nwaekeke scored six points with six rebounds and Simeon Heard (Rochester, NY/Charles Finney) scored one. Jake Funderburk (Amherst, NY/Amherst) and Mike DiPane (Seaford, NY/St. Anthony) each saw quality minutes in the win.
Moving into the final stretch of the regular season, coach Schunk knows that the team needs to keep the team's collective sights moving forward.
"We need to keep our focus as we go forward. I like where we are at; a lot of players have been stepping up and we will need that if we want to get to the postseason and have success there."
The next game for the men comes this Wednesday, February 6 as they travel Penn State-Behrend to play the Lions at 8:00pm.