GAMBIER — The Geneva College Tornadoes worked the ball down low and took high-percentage shots to overcome the Kenyon College Lords, 72-57, in Monday night’s season-opening men’s basketball game at Tomsich Arena.
Geneva scored 44 of its points in the paint and connected on 48.2 percent (27-of-56) of its shots throughout the non-conference contest. Kenyon, on the other hand, couldn’t get shots to fall at the same rate. The Lords shot 30.8 percent (20-of-65) for the game and that included a 20.0 percent showing (6-of-30) from three-point territory.
Battling through the shooting discrepancy, the Lords still managed to stay in the game. It wasn’t until the final minutes that the Tornadoes put things away.
With about eight minutes left in the contest, Kenyon went on a little run that narrowed its deficit to seven points. It was sparked by a three-pointer from freshman guard Kamal Aubakirov. Carter Powell then converted a free throw and Alex Cate followed with two more.
That spurt made the score 59-52 in favor of Geneva. With 4:38 left, the Tornadoes answered Kenyon’s run by scoring the game’s next six points. Then, over the final three minutes, the Tornadoes sealed the deal by scoring seven of the game’s final ten points.
Junior swingman Ethan Moose was the catalyst of the Geneva offense. He tied for his team’s lead by scoring 15 points. He also grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds. Junior forward Nick Rusyn matched those 15 points and guard Noah Damazo, also a junior, chipped in with 12 more.
Senior guard Matt Shifrin, who led Kenyon with a scoring average of 13.3 points per game last year, took charge again Monday, tallying a game-high 16 points. Powell, a junior forward, added 12 points and also posted a career-high 16 rebounds, smashing his previous single-game best of 11 set last year against Denison University. Additionally, the Lords got 10 points from guard Christian Watanabe, who was playing in his first collegiate game and was 4-of-5 from the field.
Early in the game, Kenyon claimed its only lead, a 15-13 advantage at the 12:15 mark. Damazo then scored the next four points, giving the Tornadoes the lead for good. Kenyon never got closer than three points the rest of the way and Geneva got to halftime with a 36-31 lead.
The Lords can now take some time to sort things out before their next game, which will be Friday evening against Trine University. It’s scheduled for a 6 p.m. start and will be played at Albion College.