DIXON – The Dixon Dukes couldn't get anything going Friday night. The Geneseo Maple Leafs couldn't miss a shot.
The Leafs shot 50 percent from the field for the game, beating the Dukes 65-37 in a Northern Illinois Big 12 West showdown at Lancaster Gym.
"We caught them on a good night, and they caught us on a bad night," Dixon coach Jason Mead summed up.
"I don't know where that came from," Geneseo coach Brad Storm said, "but I wish we could bottle it."
Senior guard Jordan Starkey led the charge for Geneseo (7-8, 3-2), hitting 11 of his 16 shots and scoring 23 points. He set the tone early, scoring four of the Leafs' first five baskets, and he missed only one out of his first nine shots.
"Things fell right to me tonight, and I put them in the basket," said Starkey, who also grabbed six rebounds. "I haven't been getting to the rim lately, and I thought I could tonight. I got some open and easy looks, the guys got me the ball in good spots, and and I had a nice balance between being aggressive and not forcing things."
Dixon (3-14, 1-4) led 7-6 midway through the first quarter before hitting a wall. The Dukes didn't score a field goal for a span of 9 minutes, 5 seconds, from the 3:26 mark of the first quarter to the 2:21 mark of the second.
That's when Geneseo took control. The Leafs outscored the Dukes 22-7 during that stretch, with all of Dixon's points coming from the free-throw line. Starkey scored 13 points in the run, and fellow starters Luke Snyder, Ethan Reschke and Grant Burress all added at least one basket on strong drives to the hoop or spin moves in the lane.
"When Jordan's feeling it like that, he's a tough matchup," Storm said. "He carried us a little bit early on, then the other guys stepped up and got involved. We were able to run our stuff on offense and take Dixon out of what they wanted to do defensively, just dictate on both ends of the floor."
Hayden Ikens' 3-pointer with 2:20 before halftime ended the Dixon drought, but the damage was done. Starkey's fadeaway jumper from the left baseline and Jordan Mielke's jumper from the right baseline gave Geneseo a 32-17 lead at halftime, and the Leafs scored 16 of the first 20 points in the third period to put the game away.
The Leafs' starters shot 54.5 percent from the field (24-for-44), and combined for 55 points, 23 rebounds and eight assists. Geneseo shot 58.1 percent (25-for-43) through the first three quarters plus 2 minutes of the game.
"It's nice to have everybody pitching in like that," Starkey said. "We just kept shooting, and the ball just kept going through the hoop. It makes the win feel that much better when we're all involved."
Snyder had 11 points, five rebounds and four assists, while Reschke, Burress and Ethan Radue added seven points apiece. Radue dished four assists, and Reschke and Burress each grabbed five rebounds.
Ikens led Dixon with 15 points, and Cal Jarrett finished with eight points and four rebounds; both blocked two shots. Laron Carr chipped in seven points, three steals and two assists. The Dukes shot 27.8 percent (10-for-36) from the field, turned the ball over 19 times, and were outrebounded 41-21.
"We missed a lot of open shots – six or seven of them were layups – and had a lot of defensive breakdowns," Mead said. "It's probably the worst game we've played since the first game of the year … and we just have to clear it from our heads and be ready to play next Saturday against Sycamore."
Geneseo 65, Dixon 37
Star of the game: Jordan Starkey, Geneseo, 23 points, 11-for-16 FGs, 6 rebounds
Key performers: Luke Snyder, Geneseo, 11 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists; Hayden Ikens, Dixon, 15 points, 2 blocks; Laron Carr, Dixon, 7 points, 3 steals, 2 assists
Up next: Sycamore at Dixon, 6 p.m. Sat., Jan. 19