Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2013, 11:22 pm

Geneseo loss at Sterling tough to swallow

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By Christopher Heimerman

Photo: Submitted
Geneseo's Ethan Reschke controls the ball as Sterling defenders move in in Sterling on Friday, February 15, 2013.
STERLING -- Brad Storm can handle a team beating his Geneseo Maple Leafs, like Sterling did on Micah Miller's 17-foot buzzer-beater Friday night at Musgrove Fieldhouse.

But after a long reflection period in the locker room after the tough-to-swallow 45-43 Northern Illinois Big 12 West loss, the Geneseo coach shared his view of the other side of the coin.

"We talk a lot about playing against ourselves, and tonight I thought we beat ourselves," Storm said. "I don't think Sterling beat us. I think we beat us."

The Maple Leafs, who led 39-33 with 5:24 to play, were looking to shoot for the win when they inbounded the ball with the game tied at 43 and 15 seconds left.

But after Zach Rehmert, who led Sterling (10-16, 4-5) with 19 points, nearly stole the ball from Ethan Radue, the Geneseo junior lost it to Chase Shetter with 7 seconds left.

"I got beat, so my first response was, 'Oh crap, dude, I just lost this for us,' " Rehmert said. "But, luckily, I got Chase and Draque (Penaflor-Heier) there to get that steal for us."

Shetter moved it ahead to Logan Wharff, who drove and kicked to Miller. His jumper touched virtually every bit of the iron before rattling down as the last second fell of the clock.

"I don't really like the pressure," Miller said.

"You liked it tonight," Sterling coach Jim Preston chimed in.

"If I have to shoot it, I will," Miller said.

Junior Luke Snyder led Geneseo (9-15, 4-5) with 10 points. Senior Jordan Starkey scored nine, and 6-foot-5 sophomore Drew Himmelman added eight points and grabbed six rebounds. Radue scored five, part of a rough night that included five of Geneseo's 25 turnovers.

"We can look at the last play, where there was still plenty of time on the clock, and we could've pulled it out," Storm said. "But he was trying to make something happen. And that wasn't the play that lost it. In the first half, we really should've taken control, and we didn't. And we had plenty of opportunities in the fourth quarter to extend it."

Geneseo trailed 24-22 at the break before building its biggest lead of six twice, first on a Himmelman bucket off a Grant Burress assist that made it 37-31 with 6:54 left, then with free throws
with 5:24 left to get to 39-33.

"The kids are pretty upset," Storm said. "They feel like that was a game we should've won. No question. I thought we proved we could've been the better team. But then we didn't make the plays, and Sterling did."