Men’s Basketball Shocks Navy in PL Quarterfinals

Before sixth-seed Colgate’s 64-59 overtime win against third-seed Navy last night in Annapolis, Head Coach Emmett Davis said, “We need to control the tempo of the game. Navy has scored 75 and 77 points against us this year and we haven’t scored more than 75 this season. If the game is in the 70’s, we’re in trouble. We need to keep the game in the 50’s and 60’s.”

Davis has never been compared to Nostradamus, but Colgate controlled the tempo in the Patriot League quarterfinals against a super-fast Navy team and won the game. Despite the Raiders losing their two best players, Alex Woodhouse and Kyle Roemer, to torn ACL’s earlier this season, Colgate stuck together and gutted out a huge playoff win against a Navy team that has beaten the Raiders by double digits twice this season.

Junior forward Ben Jonson led Colgate with 22 points and 10 rebounds. He has now averaged 18 points in his last four games, establishing himself as a great low-post scorer along the way.

“Ben’s been very aggressive on offense and has done a good job drawing fouls and getting to the line,” Davis said.

Although the Raiders controlled the tempo in the first half, playing their usual patient and conservative offensive game, Navy still managed to lead by as many as eight points en route to taking a 28-23 halftime lead.

Navy center Mark Veazey started the second half with a layup, but Colgate followed that with a 9-0 run to take a 32-30 lead. First-year forward Yaw Gyawu had two buckets, sophomore guard Mike Venezia dunked the ball on the fast break after a steal and Jonson nailed a three to give Colgate its first lead since the opening minutes of play.

Navy fought back and led 41-38 with just under nine minutes to go, but once again, the Raiders went on a run, scoring eight consecutive points thanks to a Jonson layup, a Venezia three and a three-pointer from senior Tre Vinson.

However, when a team is facing hot-shot Navy scorers Kaleo Kina and Chris Harris, no lead is ever safe. Navy chipped away at the lead, eventually tying the game at 52 after a Kina three-point play with 2:24 left in regulation.

“Kina and Harris are both really good scorers,” Davis said. “Kina in particular is really hard to guard. He drives, has a good middle game and shoots the three well.”

Kina scored 23 points, but Harris struggled, scoring only eight on 3-13 shooting.

Gyawu put in a layup after he rebounded a three-point miss from Jonson to give Colgate a 54-52 lead with 1:48 left, but Navy point guard O.J. Avworo immediately responded with a layup of his own. Both teams missed a combined five shots for the rest of regulation, and the game went into overtime.

Harris opened the overtime scoring with a two-point jumper, but Venezia countered with one of his own. One minute later, Vinson, who has quietly been Colgate’s best three-point shooter this season, knocked one down from beyond the arc, giving the Raiders a 59-56 advantage with 2:44 left. After Avworo missed a layup, Gyawu had yet another huge offensive rebound off a Jonson miss. He was fouled during the double bonus and made the second of two charity stripe shots after missing the first. Up 60-56, ‘Gate needed to make a big stop on the defensive end, but the pesky Avworo made a layup and was fouled in the process. The normally anemic free throw shooter nailed his bonus shot, making the score 60-59 with 1:24 left. Colgate looked for a good shot opportunity, but forward Adam Teague stole the ball away with just under a minute remaining. Navy used the entire shot clock because Colgate’s defense was simply tenacious, knocking the ball out of bounds twice. Harris eventually took a bad two-point attempt that was rebounded by Gyawu. The All-Patriot League Rookie team member, who was 2-8 from the free throw line up until this point, calmly made two free throws. Down three with 21 seconds remaining, Navy had the option of either going for the quick two and fouling or going for the three-point dagger to tie the game. Being the Vegas gamblers that they are, the Navy Mids decided to go for the jugular. Kina took a quick three-pointer, but it rimmed out into Jonson’s hands with 10.7 seconds left. Jonson was immediately fouled and sent to the line with a chance to ice the game. The nominally good free throw shooter, who made over 70 percent of his free throws before the Navy game, could not get a friendly roll on either of his attempts. Navy grabbed the board and called a timeout. Once again, Kina’s number was called. Once again, Kina failed to deliver, missing another three-pointer. Gyawu rebounded the ball with eight-tenths of a second on the clock and was immediately fouled. Once again, a Colgate player was sent to the free throw line to ice the game. Once again, a Colgate player missed both attempts. Needing to go the length of the court in order to get a decent three-point attempt off to force a second overtime, Navy’s Cliff Colbert threw the ball out of bounds with the baseball pass. Gyawu was then fouled and made both free throws this time to finish the scoring. The first-year superstar scored 20 points and grabbed eight boards. Besides Jonson and Gyawu, Venezia was the only other Colgate player in double digits with 13 points on 5-8 shooting. Kina and Avworo (11 points) led the Navy offensive charge.

Navy stayed in the game by going 17-19 from the free throw line despite shooting 32 percent from the field and missing a whopping 15 three-pointers. Colgate played an amazing game in Annapolis, but the Raiders need to shoot better than 52 percent from the line if it wishes to advance past the semifinal round.

Speaking of which, Colgate will now go to Worcester and face second-seed Holy Cross on Sunday afternoon. Colgate lost 68-44 at Holy Cross earlier this season, but came within a three-point shot from beating Holy Cross in Hamilton, when the Crusaders beat the Raiders 60-58.