Beaver Falls, PA - The Geneva College men′s basketball team was looking to put an end to its early season three game slide and pick up its first victory at home on Saturday afternoon. The Golden Tornadoes were not able to accomplish either task as they dropped an 84-69 decision to LaRoche College at Metheny Field House. Geneva dropped its fourth straight game after winning its season opener and fell to 1-4 on the season. It also remained winless on home having now dropped its first three games on familiar territory.
The Golden Tornadoes tried to pack a zone defense inside the paint early on against LaRoche but the Redhawks hot shooting in the first half turned out to be the difference. LaRoche made nine of its first 11 shots including four three point field goals as it rushed out to a first half lead. The Golden Tornadoes also had their shooting shoes on and stayed within striking distance trailing by the count of 42-38 at halftime. LaRoche ended the first half shooting 58% with Geneva shooting a solid 56% from the field in the first 20 minutes. "We were going to make LaRoche beat us from the perimeter," said head coach Jeff Santarsiero. That is exactly what they did all afternoon. They are a very athletic team. When they shoot the basketball like they did today, they will be anybody."
David Phillips scored 15 of his 20 points in the first half to keep the Golden Tornadoes hanging around but LaRoche proved to be too much early in the second half. Geneva made the first basket of the second half to cut the lead to 42-40 but LaRoche scored 15 of the next 17 points to open up a 57-42 lead with 13 minutes left in the second half. "They started getting their transition game going in the second half and they were very difficult to defend."
In addition to Phillips finishing with 20 points, junior Matt Lorello scored 19 points just one game after posting 37 points in a loss to Penn State Beaver. The first star of the game, however, went to freshman Zac Rorick. The freshman from Riverside High School came off the bench to score a team high 22 points on 6-10 shooting and 3-5 from three-point range. Rorick scored 22 of Geneva′s 24 bench points in the loss. In fact, other than Phillips, Lorello and Rorick, the Golden Tornadoes got just eight points elsewhere. "We have to have a more balanced scoring attack," said Santarsiero. "We are heading into conference play next week and need to find other sources of offense and most importantly, we need to get healthy."
Geneva was playing without three starters due to injuries in DJ Damazo, Lambros Svingos and Drew Santarsiero. It is unknown as to if any will be available when Geneva plays its first official PAC game next Wednesday at home against Thomas More College. It will be the first conference game for Geneva as a full member of NCAA Division III and the Presidents′ Athletic Conference.
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).