Baron Win Thriller at Home

More news about: Franciscan (Ohio)

STEUBENVILLE – In a thrilling back and forth affair, the Franciscan men's basketball team came out on top as senior Juwan Perkins (Detroit, MI/Oak Park) scored the Baron's final three points to seal a 69-66 win over Geneva, Monday night.

Perkins hit the front end of a trip to the free throw line with seven seconds left to push the Baron lead to four, 67-63 but the Golden Tornadoes grabbed the defensive rebound. Geneva drove down the court quickly and Danny Torok hit a three-pointer with 1.8 seconds left on the clock to cut the lead down to one, 67-66. Sophomore Christian Comenge (Covington, LA/Home School) sent the long pass down the court and junior Matt Trent (Cleveland, OH/Trinity) flipped the ball over the hands of the Geneva defender and into Perkins' hands as the Detroit, MI native finished off the buzzer-beating layup to seal the 69-66 win for Franciscan.

The Barons improved to 4-2 with the win while Geneva fell to 2-3 on the year.

After Geneva scored the first bucket of the game a minute into the action, Franciscan went on an 8-2 scoring run to take an 8-2 lead with 16:52 to play, thanks to an offensive rebound and layup from Trent. Geneva used a 10-2 run over the next five minutes to turn its six-point deficit into a 12-10 lead. Junior John Noce (Brewster, NY/John F. Kennedy Catholic) halted the Golden Tornado run with a three-pointer just at the halfway point in the opening period. The lead changed hands three more times before Geneva took a 19-17 lead with 6:07 to play. The Golden Tornadoes held the lead for the rest of the half, taking a 10-point lead, 28-18, with 3:48 to play. A couple of free throws from junior Josh York (Russia, OH/Russia) and back-to-back layups from Perkins and Trent got the Barons to within four, 28-24, with 2:09 left in the half. Geneva was able to push its lead back to six thanks to two free throws from Matt Dragan as the Golden Tornadoes carried a 32-26 lead into the break.

Sophomore Sean Hickey (North Olmstead, OH/Holy Name) hit a three-pointer coming out of the break to cut the lead down to three, 32-29, and Trent grabbed a defensive board at the other end of the court and finished the play with a jumper to get the Barons back to within one, 32-31. Geneva pushed its lead back to three, 34-31 before Franciscan tied the game for the first time in the second as Hickey finished a fast-break layup at 17:23. Geneva then used an 8-6 run to take its largest lead of the second, 42-37, with 12:20 to play. Franciscan tied the game twice over the next three minutes before Trent gave the Barons a 46-44 lead with 9:57 to play. Over the next five minutes, the score was tied three times and Geneva took its last lead of the game, 58-56, as Ethan Moose finished off a steal and layup with 4:11 to play. After a Geneva turnover 40 seconds later, Hickey hit a three-pointer off an assist from Trent to Franciscan the lead for good, 59-58, with 3:23 to play. Trent gave the Barons their largest lead of the final few minutes of the second as he hit a jumper with 1:50 to play. The Golden Tornadoes pulled back to within one, 64-63, as Moose scored the next five points for Geneva but a pair of free throws from Hickey before Perkins' final three points sealed the win for Franciscan.

Trent led the Barons with his fourth double-double of the year as he posted 22 points and 15 rebounds. Hickey finished the day with 15 points and four assists. Perkins hit double-digits as well as he added 13 points and four rebounds. York posted nine points and nine rebounds for the Barons.

 "Matt goes out there and quietly does his thing," remarked head coach Joe Wallace. "It's unbelievable. 22 points and 15 rebounds can be a career day for some guys and Matt has been our rock all year. Sean has been Mr. Clutch for us. He makes his money late games and he's been that way for us for last year and again this year.
Juwan has been a spark for us off of the bench, making his shots and his free throws, getting big steals."

Noce led the team with five assists while adding eight points and four boards and a pair of steals. Coach Wallace impressed with how Noce has played all year.

"He pushes the tempo and plays so hard all of the time," remarked Coach Wallace. "That's the different element that we have. My first two years going into games, I would not talk about attacking. I wanted us to be more deliberate because of obvious reasons, we had trouble scoring the basketball, but now with Johnny as our point guard, we want to go, we want to attack, we want him to play free and find guys. He does exactly what we want and we just have to try not to ride him too much right now."

As a team, the Barons shot 37.1% from the floor (26-for-70) and out-rebounded the Golden Tornadoes 43-40, including 16 offensive rebounds.

"I want to thank the pep bands, the students, and all of the fans that came out tonight," remarked Coach Wallace. "It was rocking tonight and you guys provided that extra punch that we needed to get that victory. We just loved it. Our guys feed off of it, we all feed off of it and it makes it fun. We'd love to see everyone come back Wednesday."

The Barons open conference action on Wednesday as Franciscan hosts Pitt.-Greensburg in the first Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference game for both teams. The opening tip-off is set for 8:00 pm.