Houghton, NY – Geneva’s men’s basketball team had been playing its best basketball of the 2006-07 campaign heading into an important conference weekend in New York. On Friday, the Golden Tornadoes opened their trip with a disappointing 72-66 loss to Houghton College in AMC North action. For Houghton, it was the first conference victory of the season, while Geneva fell to 2-5 in the AMC North and fell back to the .500 mark for the season at 13-13. The Golden Tornadoes had an opportunity to climb into third place in the AMC North with a victory, but as a result of the loss, Geneva is now in a fourth place tie with Daemen College.
Houghton held off Geneva down the stretch as the Golden Tornadoes battled to within one possession in the final minute after a Justin Nardi lay-up cut the lead to 67-64 with 21 seconds remaining, but the Highlanders were able to do enough at the foul line to get their first victory of the season in conference play. “It is never easy to play on the road in any conference,” said head coach Jeff Santarsiero. “We never take any game for granted and we knew this was not going to be an easy task. Give Houghton’s team credit for a strong performance and our guys were never able to get on track.”
Jermaine Ferguson did his best to keep Geneva in the game with a team high 17 points and 14 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season. Greg McDivitt helped the Geneva effort with 15 points as the only other Golden Tornado to reach double figures.
It was Houghton’s three-point shooting in the second half that made the difference. One of the leaders in the AMC from behind the three-point arc, Luke Mortenson, scored 18 of his game high 20 points in the final 20 minutes. As a team, Houghton nailed six of nine from long distance to pull away down the stretch.
Geneva won’t have much time to dwell on the loss as the Golden Tornadoes have less than 24 hours before heading to Rochester, NY on Saturday to face Roberts Wesleyan in an AMC North matinee. Next week, Geneva will travel Notre Dame on Wednesday before closing out the regular season at home next Saturday against Daemen College.