Beaver Falls, PA – High drama at Geneva′s Metheny Fieldhouse ended with the Golden Tornadoes winning their third straight game with a 79-76 decision over Seton Hill University. The victory helped Geneva get back to the .500 barrier at 12-12 for the season.
A game that had been seemingly put away into the Geneva win column became a nail biter in the final moments. With the Golden Tornadoes holding an eight-point lead at 79-71 with 22 seconds left in regulation, Mateja Dicic cut the lead to six points with eight seconds remaining. After a turnover on the in-bounds pass and a three pointer from Dicic cut the game to just three with 1.5 seconds remaining. Another steal at mid court led to a desperation three point attempt from Dicic at the buzzer. Kyle McDermott was charged with a foul on the shot and Dicic was awarded three foul shots with no time remaining. Dicic did Geneva a favor as he missed the first shot and Geneva escaped with the victory, despite the late game turnovers. “We are still learning how to win games and put teams away,” said Jeff Santarsiero. “We didn′t do a great job at the end of the game, but we came away with a victory.
The win over Seton Hill was Geneva′s first in the all-time series in nine attempts and perhaps the last in the series as the Griffins are headed for NCAA Division II next year and Geneva is moving into the Presidents′ Athletic Conference and Division III.
Geneva got a huge lift from sophomore point guard Justin Nardi in the victory. Nardi scored 18 points to tie Kyle McDermott for the team lead. Nardi also pulled down five rebounds and dished out four assists. Jermaine Ferguson also reached double figures with 11 points. “Justin is a very important piece of our puzzle,” said Santarsiero. “He played with a lot of confidence and when he plays like that, we are tough to beat.”
Geneva shot 62% (13-21) from the field in the second half, but was still out scored by the Griffins 41-37 in the final 20 minutes. Perhaps the unsung hero for Geneva was senior Mike Ross, who knocked down three huge three-point field goals to give the Golden Tornadoes a lift off the bench.
Geneva will host Myers University in another non-conference tilt on Tuesday before heading out on the road next weekend for games against Houghton and Roberts Wesleyan on Friday and Saturday. “We are heading for the home stretch and I feel really good about how our team is playing. We are playing are best basketball at hopefully the right time,” said Santarsiero.