Senior Ballers Shine in Final Home Game

Paul Kasabian

Last Tuesday, the Patriot League handed out 19 end-of-the-year awards as voted upon by the conference’s head coaches. The honors named the players on the first, second, and rookie teams as well as the best coach, defender, rookie, and player of the year for the 2007 season. Of these 19 awards, Holy Cross Crusaders won seven. Even though the announcements had not yet been made when Colgate played at Holy Cross on February 21, the Raiders knew that winning in the Hart Center would be a tough task.

Although Colgate led by two points with eight minutes left in the first half, Holy Cross eventually came out on top and won 68-57. The score was not indicative of the game as a whole because the Crusaders were winning by 23 points at one juncture in the second half. Senior Jon Simon, who landed on the All-Patriot League second team for his offensive prowess, led the Raiders with 17 points. Junior Kendall Chones scored 14 points in 23 minutes off the bench. Four Crusaders landed in double figures, including Player of the Year Keith Simmons, Defender of the Year Torey Thomas, and All-Patriot League second team member Tim Clifford.

“They have three of the best players (Simmons, Clifford, and Thomas) in the league for sure,” Head Coach Emmett Davis said. “They really play well together as a team.”

Colgate recovered, though, as students and local residents showed up in droves to support the Raiders on Senior Day game against Navy last Saturday. Luckily, Colgate did not disappoint, sinking the Midshipmen 70-62. Navy scored the first three points of the game but never regained the lead. Colgate led 33-26 at halftime after senior Jon Simon (24 points) hit a buzzer-beating three. The Raiders stretched their lead to 12 points in the second half before Navy, led by Greg Sprink (29 points), went on an offensive tear to cut the Colgate lead to one point with seven and a half minutes remaining. Colgate and Navy traded buckets until senior Marc Daniels made a short baseline jumper with 1:19 left to put Colgate up 64-60. From that point on, Navy only scored one more basket and the Raiders hit all six of their free throws to seal the win. The Chones brothers combined for 24 points while Daniels chipped in nine key points of his own.

“We bent a few times but we never broke,” Davis said. “I thought the seniors played tremendously on Saturday.”

With the victory over Navy, Colgate finished the Patriot League regular season in fifth place with a conference record of 5-9. The Raiders were picked to finish fifth in the preseason Patriot League poll, but those prognostications were made with the expectation that last season’s leading scorer and red shirt sophomore Kyle Roemer would be healthy. Unfortunately, Roemer went down with an ankle injury last August.

“I’m very proud we were able to finish fifth,” Davis said. “A lot of guys have picked up the slack throughout the year (in Roemer’s absence).”

Colgate played American last night in the first round of the Patriot League Tournament. Results were not available at press time.