As time was ticking down, the Maple Leafs never found the right timing on the court.

As time was ticking down, the Maple Leafs never found the right timing on the court.

LaSalle-Peru handed Geneseo a 44-36 defeat in the Northern Illinois Big 12 West opener in Geneseo on Dec. 2.

Despite the close score in the second half, the Cavaliers answered every challenge the Leafs threw at them.

Geneseo settled for launching perimeter shots and finished the game 5-of-26 from beyond the arc.

“They have to know what is a good shot and a bad shot,” Geneseo Coach Brad Storm said. “They can be aggressive and that doesn’t mean they have to shoot it, but they can create something for someone else.”

LaSalle-Peru dominated the glass and kept several possessions alive with multiple offensive rebounds.

The Cavaliers finished with a 30-23 advantage on the boards and created second chance points on offense and caused Geneseo to get into foul trouble from being out of position.

The Leafs’ Isaiah Rivera made a highlight-reel reverse layup made a floater on the next possession to tie the game at 17 with 40 seconds until halftime.

Geneseo wasn’t able to capitalize on the momentum going into the second half.

“We can’t take anything for granted,” Rivera said. “We need to come out with the same energy and same excitement.”

In the third quarter, Rivera hit a 3-pointer to cut L-P’s advantage to 26-24.

A fourth quarter 3-pointer from Rivera gave Geneseo a shot trailing 31-28.

However, LaSalle-Peru had an answer for every Geneseo run and kept pulling away in the third quarter.

Geneseo’s comeback hopes were dashed by poor free throw shooting.

The Leafs made 3-of-8 from the stripe in the second half.

Geneseo’s Matthew Ganson hit a 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter with 18.3 remaining, but the Leafs still trailed 41-36.

“It was disappointing how we attacked our game plan,” Storm said. “I though we had a couple poor days of practice, and it showed.”