Men’s Basketball Bounces Back With Win Over Army

The Raider men’s basketball team ended its five-game losing streak with a decisive 60-41 victory over Army last Saturday at Cotterell Court. Sophomore guard Kyle Roemer led all scorers with 14 points, while classmate Kyle Chones added 10 for the Raiders. Army’s reserve guard Jarell Brown scored 13 in a losing effort.

The win was significant for the team, according to head coach Emmett Davis, who saw the longest losing streak of his eight-year head coaching career come to an end.

“It’s big,” he said. “The guys are happy. The effort has been there throughout [the losing streak], but we didn’t have much success to show for it.”

On Saturday, the Raiders’ effort finally paid off. More active defensively than they had been in recent blowout losses at Holy Cross and Bucknell, Colgate’s defenders held the Black Knights to 27 percent shooting from the field. Army was limited to one made three-point basket in its nine attempts. The Raiders also blocked a season-best nine shots, with senior center Marc Daniels swatting away three Army attempts.

“We played great defense for 40 minutes today,” Davis said. As for the blocks, David remarked that “we don’t see that too often, especially without [injured sophomore forward Alex] Woodhouse.”

Both teams came out sluggish on Saturday. Army recorded its first made field goal with 7:17 to go in the first half, on a jumper by Corban Bates. Colgate, however, failed to capitalize on the Black Knights’ early offensive ineptitude, only scoring 12 points of its own in the first 13 minutes of action.

Army and Colgate traded missed shots and turnovers until halftime, which saw the two teams separated by a single basket, 18-15. Army made only five field goals in the half, on its way to a shooting percentage of 23 percent. Colgate fared better at 35 percent, but turned the ball over 11 times against the Army defense.

Colgate’s worst enemy in the first 20 minutes was itself. The 11 turnovers negated a solid defensive effort, keeping Army in the game.

Colgate came out more focused in the second half, however, turning what looked to be a close game into a rout.

“We knew that Army helps well on defense,” Davis said. “If we make extra passes, we can get open looks.”

Looking for the open man was exactly what Colgate did, compiling nine assists to only three second-half turnovers. Leading the way was first-year guard Trevaron Vinson, who dished out a career-high four assists without committing a turnover.

With the turnover bug gone, Colgate continued its defensive pressure and its intensity on the backboards. Brown, Army’s leading scorer, was held to 13 points on 4-of-14 shooting. The Raiders outrebounded Army, 38-29. Three Raiders – Daniels, Roemer, and Chones – grabbed six boards apiece, while junior guard Jon Simon had five and junior guard Todd Checovich added four.

It was Roemer’s play that sparked Colgate’s half-opening 18-6 run. The sophomore opened the run with a pair of free throws, and then capped it at the 12:03 mark with a jumper that made it a 36-21 game. He scored seven points and Chones scored six during the decisive run.

“Roemer took over the game at the beginning of the second half,” Davis said. “He looked like the old Roemer, playing with energy. It’s good to see him get six boards from the guard spot.”

With the victory, Colgate moves out of a last place tie with Army. The Raiders leapfrogged both the Black Knights, who fell to 1-6 in Patriot League play with the loss, and Navy. Colgate is now 2-5 in the league and 8-13 overall, and sits in sixth place at the halfway mark of the league season.

The Raiders return to action tomorrow when Lafayette visits Cotterell Court. The fourth place Leopards, 3-4 in the league and 9-11 overall, defeated Colgate by a score of 85-74 in Easton on January 11. Tip-off is set for 1:30 p.m.