Beaver Falls, PA - Geneva College head coach could not get over the fact that his team was facing a scholarship program in Roberts Wesleyan with a front line that included three players that were taller than any player on the Golden Tornadoes′ roster. Despite the size mismatch, Geneva made the statement that big things come in small packages stand true on Wednesday night. A three-point field goal from Bryan Hill gave Geneva a 3-2 lead on the second possession of the game. It turned out to be a lead that Geneva would never relinquish in a 71-63 victory in the NCCAA (National Christian College Athletic Association) east regional semi-finals. With the victory, Geneva advances to the regional finals against Nyack College on a date yet to be determined.
"We really stuck to our game plan," said Santarsiero. "We wanted our post players to become passes against their bigger line-up and we executed perfectly. More importantly, we were able to knock down shots early which really gave us a lot of confidence."
Geneva knocked down a season high 13 three-point field goals to jump start the offense. A total of five different players made at least one three pointer with Hill leading the way with four from outside the arc. Rich Colick led Geneva′s offense with 17 points leaving the junior forward just four points shy of 1000 for his career. Brandon Harvey was Geneva′s other player in double figures with 16 points on the night. "We can talk about our offense all we want, but it was our defense that won the game," said Santarsiero. "We got some huge stops throughout the game and worked extremely hard against a very talented team." Geneva held Roberts Wesleyan nearly 20 points under their season average and held them to just 36% shooting from the field."
Geneva took a 12 point lead into halftime after a Nathan Reep tip in at the buzzer. The Golden Tornadoes led by as many as 15 points in the second half before Roberts Wesleyan cut the lead to just four with five minutes left in regulation. A key three-pointer from Hill gave Geneva the momentum back and sent a great Geneva crowd into a frenzy down the stretch. "We have great fans," said Santarsiero. "This was an outstanding night for Geneva basketball. Anytime we can beat a scholarship program it is special. Our guys deserved the win."
Geneva will now play the waiting game as Nyack College will complete its conference tournament requirements. Following their tournament, the date and time for the regional final will be determined. All that is confirmed is that the game will be played at Geneva College at Metheny Fieldhouse. The winner of the regional tournament will receive an automatic bid to the NCCAA national tournament in Oakland City, IN on March 18-20.
Geneva College is a comprehensive Christian college of the arts, sciences and professional studies. Founded in the tradition of the Reformed Christian faith, Geneva prepares students to serve Christ in all areas of society: work, family and the church. Geneva College′s philosophy of education is based on the Foundational Concepts of Christian Higher Education. Geneva is a founding member of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU).