Men’s Basketball Flying High

Paul Kasabian and Jon Lampert

Most men’s basketball fans looking at the 2007-08 schedule prior to the season probably looked at the games and dates and wondered to themselves, “Who the heck is North Carolina Central?” Here is a quick summary. NC Central is a Historically Black university with 9,000 students, and it is located in Durham. In the athletic spectrum, the North Carolina Central men’s basketball team is known for playing one of the most mind-boggling and tough schedules considering the school’s basketball reputation. The Eagles have played Duke, Rutgers, Florida, Wake Forest, Drake and NC State this season, all away from home. Playing one of the hardest schedules in the country has resulted in the team’s 3-25 record this season, the latest loss coming against a tough battle against our Colgate Raiders last Saturday night in the snow globe known as Hamilton, New York.

The Raiders’ 77-69 win was nothing too special write home about. Colgate led the entire way and jumped out to a 50-35 lead at halftime much in part to six ‘Gate three-pointers. Junior guard/forward and team captain Kyle Roemer led the team with 16 points at the break and showed his fiery leadership on the court whenever the team was in a small rut.

“From the moment Kyle was elected captain, he has really taken that responsibility seriously,” Head Coach Emmett Davis said. “He really does a good job of keeping the guys focused.”

Unfortunately, Colgate lost some of that focus and went on cruise control for a period in the second half. After senior forward Kendall Chones made a layup to put Colgate on top 69-47 with 9:40 left in the second half, NC Central went on a 20-4 run over a six-minute timeframe. The Raiders went one-for-six from the field during that span, and NC Central only failed to score on two possessions. Thankfully, sophomore forward Ben Jonson made two free throws to end the run, and the Eagles went ice-cold down the stretch, making only one field goal for the rest of the game. Roemer led the way for Colgate with 20 points. Chones continued his stellar Colgate career by surpassing the 1,000 point mark in registering 11 points. Junior point guard Daniel Waddy’s line in the box score is very interesting. He scored 13 points, dished five dimes, grabbed five boards, turned the ball over another five times and made up for those mishaps with five steals. On the other side, guard Bryan Ayala led four players in double digits with 19 points.

Last night, Colgate played Holy Cross in Worcester. The Crusaders and Raiders were tied for fifth place in the Patriot League heading into the contest, and a loss for either team would doom that squad’s chances for a home game in the Patriot League tournament starting on March 5.

The Raiders emerged with a hard fought 63-55 victory in Holy Cross’s home finale. The Crusaders started the night hot, jumping out to a 12-2 lead. However, Colgate fought back and finished the half tied at 27 despite shooting only 23% from the field.

Colgate came out on fire in the second half and extended its lead to 14 points. However, Colgate’s late second half woes once again emerged. Colgate let Holy Cross back in to the game, giving up nine straight points. Holy Cross cut the lead to two, 57-55, with under a minute remaining in the game. However, Colgate finally made a stand and held the Crusaders scoreless for the remainder of the game. Overall, the Raiders shot an impressive 65% from the field in the second half.

Kyle Roemer again led the Raiders in scoring with 20 points. His second half three pointer put him at the 1,000 point mark for his career, making him the 27th Colgate player in history to achieve this feat. Kendall Chones also chipped in 18 with five boards.

The victory was Colgate’s third straight and completed a season sweep against Holy Cross. Colgate moved into a four-way tie for third place in the Patriot League.

Colgate wil finish its regular season with a home matchup against first-place Navy on Saturday.