Presidents Lose Tight Battle To Geneva In Beaver Falls
BEAVER FALLS, Pa. -- Geneva shot 54 percent in the second half and scored 10 of the final 14 points to knock off Washington & Jefferson 64-59 in PAC men's basketball action on Wednesday night at Metheny Fieldhouse.
The Presidents (8-16, 6-9 PAC) are now tied with Grove City for fifth place in the conference standings. W&J would earn the fifth seed for next week's PAC Tournament with a win over Bethany Saturday (4:00 pm) or a Grove City loss at Thiel (W&J owns tiebreaker due to win over Thomas More).
Geneva (4-20, 3-12 PAC) led for the first eight minutes of the game, but the Presidents regrouped and took their first lead (15-13) on a three-pointer by sophomore guard Jake Swan (Greensburg, Pa./Greensburg Central Catholic) at the 10:57 mark. Sophomore forward Nate Bellhy (McDonald, Pa./Fort Cherry) followed with a triple of his own 32 seconds later for a five-point lead and Washington & Jefferson took a 25-22 edge into halftime. Only three points, all by W&J, were scored during the final five minutes of the half.
The Golden Tornadoes started hot in the second half with eight-straight points, but the Presidents regrouped and the back-and-forth affair began. The lead traded hands eight times in the final 20 minutes and the score was tied on seven different occasions.
Matt Lorello's basket with 2:13 left put Geneva ahead for good. The Presidents had a couple of chances to tie or take the lead, but missed on both attempts and Jordan Harbison buried a three-pointer with 48 seconds left for a 60-55 GC lead.
Senior guard Zach Bellhy (McDonald, Pa./Fort Cherry) answered with a trifecta 15 seconds later and after a timeout, the Presidents stole the ball. Sophomore guard Mike Resnik (White Oak, Pa./McKeesport) was fouled and made 1-of-2 free throws with 24 ticks remaining. Harbison canned two foul shots seven seconds later and W&J misfired on a shot on the ensuing possession. Two Keynon Jackson free throws iced the win for the Golden Tornadoes.
Zach Bellhy paced the Presidents with 22 points (7-of-16 FG). Nate Bellhy notched a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds, while senior forward Ben Cecchini (Jamestown, N.Y./Jamestown) bucketed 11 points and grabbed four boards. W&J shot 39 percent overall (20-of-51) and hit 8-of-15 attempts from beyond the arc.
Lorello paced the Golden Tornadoes by scoring 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting. He added four rebounds, three assists and three steals, while Jackson produced 10 points and 12 rebounds. Geneva held a 35-30 advantage on the boards and scored 34 of its 64 points in the paint. Neither team led by more than five points.
Zach Bellhy, Cecchini and classmate R.J. Pilato (Greensburg, Pa./Hempfield) will be honored in a pregame ceremony for Senior Day Saturday.