Buffalo, NY - The D'Youville men's basketball team earned their second consecutive win on Saturday afternoon by defeating the Franciscan Barons by the final score of 94-87.
Will Saunders (Cleveland, OH/Euclid) got the Spartans rolling on offense early, scoring the first seven points for the men as they led 7-4 through 4:17 of play. Darrius Hartzog (Rochester, NY/Wilson Magnet) helped push the D'Youville lead out to 17-9 on a made three several minutes later before Franciscan would hit a three of their own to trail by three.
Devon Darrell (Lockport, NY/Lockport) would help create some distance between the two teams with five consecutive points for the men, giving the Spartans a 24-14 lead with 9:41 to go in the first. Following a pair of Grant Beyer (Williamsville, NY/St. Joe's) free throws, Darrell would convert an and-one with 7:34 remaining on the clock as the Spartan's lead was extended to 14. With 5:28 to go in the half, Franciscan pulled to within 10 and then trailed by four less than two minutes later. In the final 0:10 of play, the Barons would close the gap to one as they trailed 40-41 at the half.
Back-to-back threes from Saunders and Brian Sharp (Newark, NY/Newark) opened up the second half with the Spartans going ahead 47-40. Franciscan would close the gap to trail by two after 5:05 of play. Just a few minutes later, the Barons would overcome their early first half deficit to lead 55-54. D'Youville quickly regained the lead with Beyer drilling a three to get the lead right back and Hartzog adding with a three of his own.
As the second half progressed, the two teams would trade leads until a Beyer layup put D'Youville ahead 66-64 with 10:15 to go in the game. Franciscan would give D'Youville plenty to handle as they again pulled to within two with 5:36 to go and then one at 81-80 exactly one minute later. With 2:57 remaining, the Barons retook the lead just to have D'Youville take the lead right back 0:10 later. Despite the Barons fighting the Spartans at every turn, D'Youville would pull ahead at the end as clutch free throws from Darrell, Hartzog, Beyer, and Noah Denz (East Aurora, NY/East Aurora) put the game away for a 94-87 Spartan win.
"We played a strong defensive game in the first half - especially the first 10 minutes," said head coach Earl Schunk. "We overcame some adversity at the end of the first and throughout the second that really helped up pull out the win. A lot of guys came up big for us when we needed them to. Hopefully we can continue this momentum into a busy week next week and get back into a playoff race."
Saunders had an outstanding game for the men, scoring a team-high 33 points with seven rebounds and three steals - both which also led the team. The sophomore was big from every spot on the floor for D'Youville, shooting 8-16 from the field, 5-9 from three, and a very impressive 12-13 from the line.
Darrell was nearly just as efficient with 22 points of his own and a team high five assists. The sophomore shot 7-11 from the field and 2-4 from the line with six of seven free throws made. He also grabbed five rebounds.
Both Hartzog and Beyer came up big for the men with 15 points each. Denz added two points with three coming from Sharp and four from Juan Miguel Rosales (Guatemala City, Guatemala/Village School). Simeon Heard (Rochester, NY/Charles Finney) and Ryan Davis (Darien Center, NY/Alexander) each played important minutes for the men.
D'Youville will next host the Pitt.-Greensburg Bobcats as they look to extend their winning streak on Monday, January 20 at 1:00pm in the College Center Gym.