Men’s basketball trample Bison, remain unbeaten in PAC play

The Golden Tornadoes men’s basketball team is quickly building momentum early in the season with last weekend’s 81-77 win over the Bethany Bison. Their record currently stands at 5-2 and 2-0 in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC).

Roughly three-hundred attendees watched from the sidelines as the two teams played a relatively even bout through both halves.

With a six point lead built up in the early minutes of the game, Geneva slowly surrendered control of the scoreboard to Bethany with six minutes left in the first half. Sophomore sharpshooter Danny Torok helped the GTs battle back and close the gap, entering the half up 35-34 on the Bison.

Torok was on fire from downtown from the jump, registering 17 points in the first half and ending the contest with a career-high 25 points.

Bethany came out of the break ready to attack the hoop and push the ball down the floor, however. They opened up an eight point lead early in the second half, but Geneva’s leaders in junior forward Jimmy Leichliter and senior captain Chaese Vaudrin (along with young contributors Torok and freshman forward Ethan Moose) kept the pressure on the Bison offensively.

Leichliter, Vaudrin, and Torok combined to rack up a collective 29 points in the second half, while Moose made a number of clutch baskets, including tying the game at 51 with 12 minutes left to play. By the time four minutes remained, the GTs had built back up an eight-point lead which they would scrap to maintain through the duration of the game.

In the waning minute of the game, when the Bison were forced to intentionally foul, Leichliter was twice sent to the line to secure the GTs victory, and went a clutch 4-4 from the charity stripe.

Holding on to their lead and ending the contest with a final score of 81-77, the team secured a win versus one of the top two teams in the conference, according to head coach Jeff Santarsiero.

Last week’s PAC Player of the Week, Leichliter collected 17 points total. On his recent success, Leichliter said, “For me, it’s simple. The game is fun and I enjoy competing with other great athletes, but my reason for playing is for God. He gave me the gift of playing the sport, and so I try to glorify him with my ability to play the game.”

Torok’s seven made three pointers paced the GTs box score, while Moose’s nine points, six rebounds, and savvy ball handling were solid contributions off the bench.

Vaudrin registered an unselfish 13 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists on the afternoon. While Vaudrin’s scoring numbers are down from last year’s campaign which saw him win the PAC scoring title, this year the senior is trading personal success for facilitating for his teammates.

The team’s place at the top of the PAC rankings suggests his sacrifices are paying off, and in a big way.

Geneva is currently tied for first in the PAC with an undefeated record of 2-0, along with previous PAC Champions Saint Vincent and Thomas More, selected as the 2016-2017 favorite in the preseason coaches’ poll. The GTs are currently greatly overachieving on their preseason ranking at number eight in the conference.

Jeff Santarsiero, head coach for the men’s basketball team 21 seasons and counting, was pleased to see his team off to a strong start and encouraged his players to keep at it. “Everyone knows what they need to work on. They need to accept their roll and I think everybody has and they know what they need to do. It’s on them now…. and for the most part, everybody is sticking to it.”

The men’s team will battle at home once again against Thiel this upcoming weekend, Saturday, December 10th at 1 p.m.

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