Beaver Falls, PA – It seemed like Geneva’s men’s basketball team had watched a late lead slip through its finger tips in the final seconds, but junior guard Bryan Hill made it all worthwhile by knocking down a three-point field goal with three seconds left in the game to secure a 70-69 victory over Washington & Jefferson. The Golden Tornadoes moved their season long win streak to six games and pushed its overall record to 11-7.
The Golden Tornadoes had been getting things done on the defensive end of the floor during the recent streak. In fact, Geneva had held opponents less than 60 points in each of the five victories, which was the first time that feat had been accomplished by a Geneva team since the 1936 season. On Saturday, it took W & J 39 minutes to reach the 60 point mark but all the fun began in the final minute.
Geneva didn’t do itself any favors from the foul line as it made just two free throws in the ten second half attempts. Down the stretch, the Golden Tornadoes missed six straight and allowed W & J back into the game. W & J had seemingly completed its comeback when Paul Matthews made his fourth three-point field goal of the game with 7.5 seconds on the clock to give the Presidents a 69-67 lead. All Matthews’ shot did was create more drama as Hill and Geneva got the last laugh. “We were awful from the foul line,” said Santarsiero. “Learning how to win close games down the stretch is a big part of maturing and obviously we still have some work to do in that department.”
Hill allowed the home fans to go home happy and forget about the foul shooting problems when he knocked down his second three point field goal of the game. Hill finished with only seven points but got credit for the most important three tallies of the contest.
“We have a lot of weapons,” said Santarsiero. “When we have the last possession and a chance to win with the ball in our hands, I am still confident we can find a way.” A quick in-bounds pass to Sopko, who raced up the floor and found Hill standing on the right wing, was followed by a 28 footer that never touched the rim. “When Bryan gets those feet set, we always feel it has a chance and we got a big one when we needed it the most.”
Geneva won for the sixth straight time, which is the longest win streak since the 2003-04 campaign. Meanwhile, W & J fell to 8-10 on the season.
Rich Colick led the offense with 24 points with TJ Bevilacqua scoring 12 as the only other player in double figures. W & J got 19 points from Albert Varacallo and 17 points from Matthews, who was close to being the hero with his three-pointer in the final seconds.
The Golden Tornadoes head back to the road on Wednesday at Thiel before returning to Metheny Fieldhouse next Saturday to host Bethany College.
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).
Designated as a Pennsylvania College of Distinction, Geneva is recognized as one of the best places in the state for students to learn, to grow, and to succeed.