Men’s B-Ball Loses to Holy Cross in PL Semis

Paul Kasabian

After a 61-44 loss to second-seed Holy Cross in the Patriot League Tournament semifinal round last Sunday, the sixth-seed men’s basketball team may be wondering what might have been had Kyle Roemer and Alex Woodhouse been available for the team’s stretch run. Roemer, who led Colgate with 16.2 points last season during his tenure as the team’s captain and floor leader, tore his ACL during a pick-up game last September. Woodhouse, the shot-blocking specialist and defensive demon, tore his ACL after dunking over Lafayette center Marek Koltun in the beginning of a 71-54 win over the Leopards on February 11. Without the two stars, Colgate managed to pull off a 64-59 overtime upset over third-seed Navy on February 28, but could not continue its momentum into Worcester, Massachusetts.

Two things doomed Colgate on this day: poor rebounding and abysmal field goal shooting. Holy Cross out-rebounded Colgate 40-26, though the Crusaders’ rebounding statistic is powered by the Colgate offensive attack’s many field goal misses. The Raiders made only 32 percent of their field goals, connecting on just 5-of-23 shots in the first half.

Holy Cross junior center Eric Meister led all scorers and rebounders with 19 points and nine boards. He made 9 of his 10 shots on the day to go along with two blocks. Shooting guard R.J. Evans, who scored 31 points in Holy Cross’75-56 first-round blowout of Bucknell in the first round of the Patriot League Tournament, pitched in 14 to contribute to the Crusader cause. For Colgate, first-year forward Yaw Gyawu scored 13 points, and Venezia pitched in 12. The hot-as-the-Sun junior forward Ben Jonson cooled off, as he got in foul trouble early and never established himself in this game, scoring six points and committing six turnovers.

Both teams struggled shooting and keeping possession of the ball in the early stages, and the game became an eyesore. The Crusaders opened the game on a 7-0 run, but Colgate bounced back by scoring eight of the game’s next 10 points. A Nick Pascale dunk off a pretty feed from first-year point guard Anthony Hill got Colgate to within 10-8 midway through the first half, but that was the apex of the game for the Raiders. Holy Cross finished the half on an 18-6 run, with all of their points coming in the paint or from the free throw line, symbolizing its dominance down low during this Saturday matinee.

In the second half, Venezia cut the Holy Cross lead to 12 by adding a three-point play with 16:18 remaining. Leading 36-24 at this point, the Crusaders went for the jugular and stormed out to an 18-2 run to put the game away. Gyawu made a layup to end the run, starting an 18-8 stretch in Colgate’s advantage to close the game.

Prospects look bright for Colgate next year. Although the team will lose Woodhouse and important subs Tre Vinson and Willie Morse to graduation, Colgate returns all members of the starting lineup that appeared during the Patriot League Tournament. Furthermore, the team will receive a boost from Roemer, getting back its captain and top scorer. Colgate should most certainly be in the top half of the Patriot League standings this year if it stays healthy, and the championship is not out of the question.