BEAVER FALLS, Pa. – The Franciscan men's basketball team battled by from an 18-point deficit with just under seven minutes to play but could not complete the comeback as the Barons fell 74-64 in non-conference action to Geneva, Monday evening.
With 6:52 to play and down by 18, sophomore Josh York made a layup to kick off a 7-2 run over the minute and a half to cut the deficit down to 13, 58-45, with 5:17 to play. York got the Barons to within 11 with another layup with 4:36 to play and senior Keoni Sablan cut the lead down to single-digits, 60-51, with a pair of free throws with 3:55 left in regulation. Geneva pushed its lead back to 12 with a three from Danny Torok but Franciscan kept battling and sophomore Matt Trent hit a jumper with 1:47 left to cut the lead back to nine, 63-54. After a Geneva free throw, Trent got the Barons within eight with a layup at the 1:30 mark. The Golden Tornadoes hit a pair of free throws with 1:12 left and Sablan made it a seven-point game with a layup and free throw with 1:07 to play.
Geneva hit five free throws over the next 30 seconds to push the lead back to double-digits, 71-59, with just 36 seconds on the clock. Junior Juwan Perkins finished a layup 10 seconds later and after another Geneva free throw, freshman Sean Hickey drained a three with 11 seconds left to keep to the deficit at eight points, 72-64. Franciscan was forced to foul on Geneva's next possession and the Golden Tornadoes sealed the win with a pair of free throws to bring the score to its final, 74-64.
The dramatic comeback attempt was set up by a tightly contested first half. The Barons got out to a 5-2 lead thanks to a layup from Trent and a three from Sablan but the Golden Tornadoes used a 7-0 run to take the lead for good, 9-5. Hickey cut the lead down to one, 9-8, with 11:41 to play with a three but Geneva kept pace and pushed its lead to 17-11 with 7:14 to play in the first. Sablan hit another three with 6:49 to play to kick off a 7-2 run for the Barons to get them within one, 19-18, with 4:52 left before the break. Eric Magee kicked off a 6-0 run for Geneva before Trent jump-started a 6-2 run for the Barons to keep the deficit at three, 27-24. After a 4-1 run for Geneva gave the Golden Tornadoes a 31-25 lead with 14 seconds left in the half, sophomore Joe Schriner drained a three as time expired to send the Barons into the locker room down just three, 31-28, at halftime.
The Golden Tornadoes used a 20-7 run in the first 10 minutes of the second half to extend their lead to 51-35. The Barons kept pace with the Golden Tornadoes in the final 10 minutes of the half, but the deficit proved to be too great to overcome for the Barons.
Sablan led the Barons with 15 points while Trent added 13 points and five rebounds. York led the Barons with 13 points and narrowly missed a double-double with eight points. Hickey finished the day with 11 points. As a team, the Barons shot 40.0% from the floor (22-55) while winning the rebound battle, 40-33.
Franciscan returns to the court on Saturday as the Barons travel to Medaille for an AMCC match-up at 2 pm.