Beaver Falls, PA – It was a long time in coming but the Geneva College men’s basketball team finally put an end to its losing streak on Wednesday night. In doing so, the Golden Tornadoes made history by picking up the school’s victory as an official member of the Presidents’ Athletic Conference. The victory pushed Geneva’s overall record to 2-6 including a 1-2 mark in the conference. Even more impressive was the fact that head coach Jeff Santarsiero became only the second head coach in Geneva men’s basketball history to secure career victory number 250. Alongside legendary head coach Cliff Aultman, Santarsiero reached the milestone in his 16th year at the helm.
A game that looked to be locked up midway through the second half became very interesting down the stretch as the Golden Tornadoes allowed Waynesburg to hang around because of their inefficiency from the foul line. Geneva missed 11 free throws in the final five minutes to allow Waynesburg to cut a 16 point lead down to a one possession game in the waning seconds.
The Golden Tornadoes jumped out of the gate early and opened up a 13 point lead at 18-5 just eight minutes into the game. Geneva led by as many 18 points in the first half and took a 40-26 lead into the break. Throughout the first ten minutes of the second half, Geneva managed to keep Waynesburg at arm’s length and didn’t allow the Yellow Jackets to cut the lead into single digits until there was less than five minutes on the clock. With Geneva leading 73-61 with 1:43 left in the second half, the Yellow Jackets scored nine of the next ten points to cut the lead to 74-72 thanks to ten missed free throws in just over a minute. Leading by two points with 25 seconds left in the game, Drew Santarsiero finally managed to ice the game away with two free throws and Matt Lorello added another from the charity stripe to give Geneva the victory.
The Golden Tornadoes featured a balanced attack with Dave Phillips leading the way with 19 points and eight rebounds. Drew Santarsiero put up 14 of his 17 points in the first half to help his father win career game number 250. Lambros Svingos posted his first double-double of the season with 16 points and ten rebounds. “We certainly made things interesting,” said head coach Jeff Santarsiero. “We have to do a better job down the stretch to put teams away but the way things have been going we will certainly take the victory.”
Santarsiero was not quick to take credit for his milestone victory despite reaching win number 250. “To be mentioned alongside Coach Aultman in any sentence is an honor. When you do something for so long I guess you are bound to get some wins. I’m just happy to get this one tonight so we can hopefully get on a roll.”
Geneva will close out the first semester of games on Saturday when it travels to Grove City for a 3 pm matinee. The Golden Tornadoes head to California after Christmas for a pair of games at the California Lutheran tournament. The Golden Tornadoes don’t return home until January 11th to take on Saint Vincent 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).