The Colgate men’s basketball team has developed a habit of losing soul-crushing games, only to bounce back and beat its next Patriot League foe. The Raiders dropped a home game against Holy Cross after losing a double digit lead in the second half, but they went to Annapolis and defeated Navy the following Saturday. After the win over the Midshipmen, the Raiders held a 15-point lead at home against Bucknell, but lost that game in an excruciatingly painful matter. The pattern stayed the same as Colgate defeated Army thanks to senior Marc Daniels’ clutch lay-up.
For one night, it seemed like Colgate would break this habit. The Raiders went to Easton, Pennsylvania on February 7 and defeated the Lafayette Leopards 54-51. Senior Jon Simon led all scorers with 15 points, all of which came from behind the arc. Junior Kyle Chones earned his third double-double of his career with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Chones has been the X-factor for the Raiders, scoring in double digits in all of Colgate’s Patriot League wins this season.
“Kyle is really a key player for us in terms of our success,” Head Coach Emmett Davis said. “I think he’s really a catalyst for us right now. When he plays well, we’re a different team.”
The Raiders had a great chance to separate themselves from the bottom feeders of the Patriot League last Sunday when they wrested control for a good part of the nationally televised game against American at Cotterell Court. Chones hit four three pointers in the second half and the Raiders held an 11 point lead with 14:22 to go, but as time dwindled, so did the Raiders’ lead.
Coach Davis called this one of Colgate’s most devastating losses in team history. “I would have to say it is (one of the worst head coaching losses of my career),” he said. “This one has got to be the worst, the most difficult to swallow.”
The Raiders went into one of their now signature scoring droughts in the middle of the second half, and American took advantage of it. The Eagles led 49-45 in the closing minutes, but the Raiders scored four straight points to tie the game. After an American charging foul in the last half minute, Simon took a shot with three seconds left, which fell short; however, Bergen Catholic High School graduate and senior Dan Gentile scooped up the rebound and made the put-back shot with .2 seconds left. All American could do was to try and throw a perfect full court inbounds pass and hope an Eagle would be on the other end to tip in the ball. But Kyle Chones, who otherwise played a great game (16 points), fouled American’s Arvydas Eitutavicius before the ball was inbounded, sending him to the line. Eitutavicius sank both of his free throws, along with Colgate’s hopes. American shut down Colgate in overtime and won the game, 64-58. The Raiders are tied for fourth place with American in the Patriot League, but the Eagles hold the tiebreaker by virtue of winning both of their games against Colgate.
The Raiders will play an ESPN U BracketBuster game against the Marist Red Foxes in Poughkeepsie on Saturday.