Vaudrin eclipses 1,000 point mark in 2-OT heartbreaker vs. Thiel

Men’s basketball went to war Saturday, Dec. 10th against the Thiel Tomcats in a home conference bout, falling 79-76 after a controversial double overtime.

In a game of momentum swings back and forth, Geneva seemed to hold the advantage for most of the contest. Though they entered the halftime locker-room trailing 30-28, they led the game in total for more than 28 minutes. The Tomcats were always close behind, but with team leaders Chaese Vaudrin and Jimmy Leichliter clicking on offense the team seemed to have reason for hope.

The game’s real drama began in the final ten seconds of regular play. Vaudrin, who had a perfect night from the free throw line but an inefficient line from the field, pulled back his dribble and hit a clutch midrange jumper for the two-point Geneva lead. Though time had seemingly expired, the refs had .5 second put back on the clock.

The Tomcats, inbounding from the opposite side of the court, threw the ball the length of the floor, where Thiel’s Clandell Cetoute caught, turned, and swished the game-tying score.

The crowd erupted in protest, but with no instant-replay available the refs signaled for the bucket to be counted and overtime began.

Leichliter scored 24 points on the night, but his most impressive bucket of the night closed out the first overtime. Coming around the top of the key, again with the last minute of overtime play running down, Leichliter took the dribble handoff, set, and fired true, giving the GTs a seemingly insurmountable three-point lead.

However, there was just enough time left on the clock for Thiel’s Tyreik Burton to take the inbound, push the ball to halfcourt, and hit his double-clutch heave, sending the game, and those assembled, incredulously into a second overtime.

From here, the game swung decisively in Thiel’s favor, and they outscored the gassed Golden Tornadoes 6-3 in the final period of play. The 79-76 loss was a heartbreaker, and the Geneva coaches set about picking their team up after the questionable course of events.

“I told the guys in the locker room, it’s why you play the game: for moments like that,” said head coach Jeff Santarsiero.

Though he commented on the difficulty of appreciating the milestone after the tough loss, senior captain Chaese Vaudrin eclipsed the thousand-point mark Saturday with his 17 points. His 10 rebounds and 4 assists further showed the evolution of his game as not just a scorer, but a well-rounded leader on the court and off for the GTs.

On takeaways from the game, Vaudrin said, “Offensively we feel like we can score with anybody; we have a lot of pieces and a lot of people who can do a lot of different things.”

“We’re still not the biggest team in the PAC, so we have to get rebounds. That showed tonight.”

Though Thiel’s length bothered the GTs on the glass, junior Tyler Crenshaw was able to pull down his fair share, crashing the boards for 16 rebounds.

Off the bench, freshman Ethan Moose continued his strong play after notching a PAC Rookie of the Week win. He contributed 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists, a full stat-line, and provided seemingly-veteran play as the GTs’ point guard down the stretch.

“We’re sprinting to the break to get some rest, get back, and get refocused for the second half of the PAC season,” said Santarsiero.

The GTs have earned their rest after a fifty-minute gasser Saturday. They now break until Dec. 29th’s Wittenberg Tournament, a non-conference chance for the GTs to ready themselves for the second half of their PAC schedule.

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