The D'Youville men's basketball team used a furious comeback to erase an 18-point deficit in the second half but came up short to Mercy College, falling 75-68 in their final ECC battle of the season.
Saturday's setback in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. saw the Saints drop to 2-12 on the season and 0-8 in ECC play while the host Mavericks improved to 2-5 in league action.
Junior forward Garrian Wade got the Saints on the scoreboard first. Driving left, Wade dropped a floater to put D'Youville ahead on their first possession. The Mavericks responded scoring the next 10 points before sophomore forward Noah Denz connected from three twice in a span of two minutes to deadlock the game back at 10.
Senior guard Brian Sharp pulled up from the baseline to reclaim the lead for the Saints, but the Mavericks would knot the game up once more on their next possession. Just under the 10-minute mark of the first half, Sharp found a wide-open freshman forward Jared Sullivan streaking down the lane for an easy layup to put the Saints back up by two points at 19-17.
Sullivan continued the back-and-forth affair, putting back a miss from senior forward Grant Beyer, tying the game back up at 21. The Mavericks put together a 9-2 stretch, but freshman guard Mason Putnam silenced the run with a three from the right corner, pulling the Saints back to four points and Denz connected for his third three of the half, hitting from the top of the key to pull the Saints within one point of Mercy at 30-29. Another 7-0 run from the Mavericks put the Saints back down by eight points with one minute remaining. Putnam added a jumper from the free-throw stripe at the buzzer to weather the storm and keep the Saints within one possession at the break.
After converting only 33 percent of their attempts in Thursday's win, the Saints improved to 43.3 percent in the opening 20 minutes of Saturday's matchup.
The Mavericks began the second half just like they started the first with a 10-2 run, with the lone D'Youville basket coming from Wade when he put back his own miss. Seven minutes into the half, Putnam added another three, this time from the right-wing but the Mavericks still had a 14-point advantage. With six minutes remaining, Wade added three more points to his total with a three from the right corner.
At the 3:00 minute mark, Denz completed a three-point play to pull the Saints deficit back to 11 points. Freshman guard Trent Scott found Denz open to complete the D'Youville fastbreak and Wade's layup cut the Maverick lead to under 10 points on D'Youville's next possession. The Saints put the clamps down on the defensive end after a Mercy timeout, forcing a shot clock violation and Scott continued the scoring run with a deep three from the top of the key, making it a six–point game with 1:30 remaining. The Saints got the ball back after a jump ball on the ensuing Mercy possession and Denz made the Mavericks pay with another three to make it a 68-65 game with 1:01 remaining. The Saints couldn't claw any closer as the Mavericks secured their second league win of the season.
Notables – Three Saints landed in double figures, paced by Denz (17 points, 6/9 FG), Wade (13 points, 5/11 FG), and Putnam (11 points, 4/6 FG) while Scott also chipped in eight points ... The Saints shot 38.1 percent from the field compared to a 39.0 percent mark from Mercy ... D'Youville converted 39.3 percent (11/28 3PT) of their attempts from beyond the arc.
Four Mavericks posted double-figure scoring efforts led by forward Kerwin Prince's game-high total (18 points, 6/14 FG), forward Daycon Cuffey (15 points, 7/13 FG), guard James Taylor Jr. (11 points, 4/12 FG), and guard Jay Turner (10 points, 4/11 FG) ... The hosts controlled the glass Saturday's setback, outrebounding the Saints 49-41.
Up Next – The Saints return to non-conference action on Tuesday, March 2, when they take on USCAA member Villa Maria. The two teams met earlier this season with D'Youville picking up a 14-point victory to open the season. Tuesday's tip-off between the Saints and Vikings is set for 6 p.m. at the College Center Gymnasium.