Men’s Basketball Loses Nailbiters to Longwood and Holy Cross

Men's Basketball Loses Nailbiters to Longwood and Holy Cross

Paul Kasabian

The men’s basketball team lost an out-of-conference game at Longwood 80-75 last Saturday in Farmville, Virginia before Holy Cross came to Cotterell on Senior Night last night and defeated the Raiders, 60-58.

After finding themselves down 12-5, the Raiders quickly scored seven points to tie the game at 12. The two teams were later tied at 17 minutes before Colgate took control of the paint to grab a 42-30 halftime lead. The Raiders made 10 shots in the post during their 25-13 run to close the half and shot 60 percent in the first 20 minutes.

Colgate still had great control of the game through the first 10 minutes of the second half, with six players contributing points. Unfortunately, Colgate’s 15-point lead was not an anomaly to this theory. The Lancers went on a 16-0 run in 3:22, bewildering a Colgate squad that coughed the ball up four times in that span.

Sophomore point guard Joe Hoban broke the run with a fast break layup with 6:48 left, giving the lead back to Gate. Eventually, a jumper from first-year forward Yaw Gyawu gave Colgate a 67-63 advantage with 3:49 remaining, but Longwood scored 12 (six of which came on free throws) of the game’s next 14 points, and the Lancers subsequently grabbed a 75-71 lead with 49 seconds left. Hoban then hit one of two free throws, but Longwood guard Durann Neil made one of two as well. Sophomore shooting guard Mike Venezia then missed a three-pointer to keep Colgate alive, which was rebounded by Lancer forward Dana Smith. Smith then made two free throws to seal the game.

Gyawu had a career-high 23 points and seven rebounds. Junior forward Ben Jonson had the second double-double of his season by going for 16 and 11. Smith led Longwood with 21.

Elsewhere in the box score, Colgate out-rebounded Longwood 42-32 but committed 10 more turnovers.

Sometimes in basketball, the team that wants to win more and shows more intensity on the court will do well despite any talent or physical deficiencies. That sentiment could be applied to last night’s game. Holy Cross sports a front line that goes 6’6″, 6’8″ and 6’9″ and outrebounded Colgate 38-24, but the Raiders managed to have success in the paint and come within two points of victory.

“We knew we were going to be smaller so we knew we had to play strong and hard all the time,” Gyawu said. “We knew we had to do it on our own.”

Back-to-back three-pointers from Venezia gave Colgate an 11-10 lead early on, but Holy Cross went on a 16-4 run to take a 26-15 lead. However, Colgate was the beneficiary of back-to-back three pointers again, this time via the soft shooting touch of first-year point guard Anthony Hill. Gyawu then connected on two consecutive field goals, which were buffered by a jumper from Holy Cross forward Alex Vander Baan. Hoban ended the half with a baseline three-pointer to tie the game at 28 at the half.

Colgate continued to control the game with its defensive intensity by starting the second half on a 12-3 run, but Holy Cross chipped away at the deficit by getting some good looks. Colin Cunningham knocked down two free throws to give Holy Cross a 46-44 lead with 7:57 left, an advantage the Crusaders would not relinquish.

A devastating sequence for Colgate occurred when Holy Cross shooting guard R.J. Evans scored layups off offensive rebounds on two consecutive possessions, the latter giving Holy Cross a 56-52 lead with 1:58 remaining. The Crusaders stayed on top and were ahead 59-55, but Cunningham missed two straight free throws, giving Colgate life. Senior point guard Tre Vinson then hit a rainbow three-pointer from the top of the key with seven seconds left. Colgate then sent Devin Brown to the line, who made the first free throw and missed the second. Gyawu grabbed the defensive rebound and shot down the court, attempting a running 25-footer for the win. The ball arced in the air and hit the front rim, ending the game.

“The play was designed for Venezia if Brown made the free throw,” Gyawu said. “Had he missed it, whoever got the rebound was just supposed to go as far as possible.”

The 6’5″ Gyawu gave Holy Cross fits down low, scoring 14 points.

“I’ve been working really hard and putting a lot of work in,” Gyawu said. “I knew it wasn’t going be easy for me at the college level, so I’ve been working on my game every day.”

Jonson had 18 points and grabbed six rebounds. Brown led three Crusaders in double digits with 13.

Fourth-place Colgate will clinch a home Patriot League Tournament quarterfinal game if it beats Navy and Lehigh loses at Holy Cross. Colgate’s game occurs at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Annapolis.