Buffalo, NY – The D'Youville men's basketball team suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Medaille Mavericks on Monday evening by the finals score of 79-75.
Medaille jumped out to an early 6-2 lead over the Spartans before Jeremy VanDuluitgaarden (Verona, NY/Vernon-Verona-Sherrill) and Brian Nwaekeke (Corona, CA/John F. Kennedy) would score back-to-back buckets to put D'Youville up 9-8. Both teams would go cold from the field for roughly two minutes before a VanDuluitgaarden three put the Spartans up 10-14. The Mavericks would answer with the next two baskets, tying the game at 14-14.
With 8:39 to go in the half, Medaille would take a six-point advantage over D'Youville. Brian Sharp (Newark, NY/Newark) would enter the game and inject some fire into the Spartans as he hit back-to-back threes to tie the game. Sharp then hit another three coupled with a Nwaekeke layup and the game was again tied. Medaille would regain a three-point lead on a made layup with 1:28 to go in the half, but the Spartans would trim the deficit to two as they went into the half trailing 39-37.
The first six points of the second half came from Medaille as they opened up a 45-37 advantage. Medaille would then open up a nine-point lead, but the Spartans would begin to fight back. Simeon Heard (Rochester, NY/Charles Finney) would heat up, scoring six of eight points for D'Youville and the Spartans were with four at 56-52 with 12:27 to go in the game.
Heard would remain hot, going to the line after nearly a two-minute scoring drought for both teams and sink two free throws, making it a 56-54 game. Two possessions later, Nwaekeke would come back down the court and tie the game on a breakaway layup. The Mavericks would get back out in front of the Spartans, but a VanDuluitgaarden jump-hook in the lane would bring the Spartans to within one yet again at 60-59.
Following a three from Medaille, Will VanAuken (Caledonia, NY/Caledonia-Mumford) would drill a big three to keep D'Youville within two, followed by another Nwaekeke breakaway layup to tie the game at 64-64 with under five minutes to go in the game. Devon Camel (Cheektowaga, NY/Cheektowaga) would come up big for the men, tying the game at 68 and then converting an and-one with 3:04 to go in the game, giving D'Youville the 71-68 lead.
With 1:37 left on the clock, Sharp drilled a monster three that sent the College Center Gym into a frenzy and put the Spartans ahead 74-70. Medaille would respond with five unanswered points, leading the game 75-74 with 0:04.1 left in the game. They then hit two free throws to extend their lead to three and the Spartans with one last chance at tying the game. Nwaekeke went to the line with 0:02.5 and hit the first of a one-and-one. Unfortunately for the Spartans, Medaille would ice the game with two late free throws to win the game 79-75.
"It was a hard fought, playoff intensity kind of game," said head coach Earl Schunk following the loss. "We stepped up our defensive effort in the second half and put ourselves in a position to win. Unfortunately they made one more shot than we did. I like where we are at though. We have to keep scrapping like this the rest of the way and in the playoffs."
VanDuluitgaarden had an outstanding game with 19 points and 19 rebounds, playing 36 minutes. Camel added 16 points while Nwaekeke scored 14 points with a team high seven assists and six rebounds. VanAuken added six points and eight rebounds while Sharp scored 12 points off the bench. Heard tallied eight points with Devon Darrell (Lockport, NY/Lockport) dished out five assists with Grant Beyer (Williamsville, NY/St. Joe's) and Jagdeep Drumgoole (Rochester, NY/Early College) each playing limited action due to injuries.
The next game for the men comes this Wednesday, February 13 at Hilbert at 8:00pm.