Registering 17 points and 12 rebounds for his first career double-double, sophomore Noah Denz and the D'Youville men's basketball team earned a 94-80 season-opening win over Villa Maria in USCAA action Saturday evening at the Villa Athletic Center. The Saints' victory moved the team to 1-0 for the first time since Nov. 10, 2018, while the loss dropped the Vikings to 0-2 on the campaign.
Denz was one of six D'Youville players to rack up double-digit points, with redshirt-junior Jaeger Martino and freshman Trent Scott dropping 14 points apiece. On the Villa Maria side, Juwan Beale led all scorers with 29 points, while fellow Viking Kevin Goode picked up eight assists.
The Saints had to shake off the rust early, battling out to a 22-18 lead before Villa Maria went on a 11-2 run and grabbed a 29-24 advantage. D'Youville responded by wiping out the Vikings' edge, but again fell behind late in the opening half, 37-32, before cutting the lead to 38-36 at the break. Beale's 13 first-half points were matched by 10 points from Scott.
Denz broke out in a big way during the second frame, registering 15 of his points and seven of his rebounds across the final 20 minutes. The 15 points from Denz were part of a 58-point half for the Saints, as senior Grant Beyer also added 10 points while freshman Mason Putnam tallied nine points and all five of his assists in the latter half. Coming out of the locker room, Martino's layup to take a 44-42 edge proved to be the moment the game flipped, as the Saints never surrendered the lead again. A 17-point Saints advantage with 4:23 left ended up putting the game away, with Villa unable to chop down the deficit to single-digits during the closing minutes.
Notables: The 94-point performance is the most by D'Youville in regulation since a 101-96 loss to Medaille on Jan. 29, 2020 … This was the highest-scoring season-opener on the D'Youville side during head coach Earl Schunk's tenure, with the previous high being 93 points in his D'Youville debut at Buffalo State on Nov. 15, 2011 … Junior Garrian Wade was perfect from the charity stripe on four attempts, recording 12 points on the game before fouling out … Putnam's five assists were tied for the team lead with junior Latrell Butler … 12 rebounds is a career high for Denz … Denz also led the team with three steals, tacking on three assists and a block as well … The double-double from Denz is the first by a D'Youville player since Will Saunders on Feb. 19, 2020 … Scott's 14 points is the most for a freshman in their debut since Jeff Curry's 19 points and Kevin Ford's 16 points in that 2011 season opener at Buffalo State.
Up Next: The Saints play their first home game on Wednesday, Feb. 3, starting up East Coast Conference action with Roberts Wesleyan at 6 p.m.