Colgate-Army Preview

For the first time in four seasons, the Raider men’s basketball team will not be facing the Lafayette Leopards in the opening round of the Patriot League Tournament. Instead, the fifth-ranked Raiders will be facing off tonight with the fourth-ranked Lehigh Mountain Hawks in the first round, with Colgate’s pod taking place on the campus of Holy Cross in Worcester. The Raiders and Mountain Hawks split their season series, with both teams winning on their home courts. On January 21, the Raiders welcomed then-first place Lehigh to Cotterell Court and sent them home with a 61-54 loss. Junior Alvin Reed led the Raiders offensively with 15 points, while senior co-captain Andrew Zidar added 11 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. In that game, the Raiders held Lehigh stars Jose Olivero and Joe Knight to a combined 11 points. On February 4, Colgate could not contain Olivero and Knight, and it led to a 63-53 Lehigh victory. Olivero scored 21 points and Knight tallied 12, as the Hawks came back late in the contest to take down the visiting Raiders. The Hawks are led on the offensive end by the duo of Olivero and Knight. Olivero, an all-Rookie team selection last season, ranked fourth in the Patriot League in scoring with 13.4 ppg, while Knight shined in his first season after transferring from Tarrant Community College, averaging 12.5 points, 4.4 assists and 3.9 rebounds per contest. The major problem this season for the Mountain Hawks has been their inability to score. The team ranks seventh in the eight-team Patriot League in scoring (61.2 ppg) and last in field goal percentage (38.7 percent). But in the team’s last four games, the team has had a much tougher time stopping its opponents, allowing almost 74 points per game. Not coincidentally, Lehigh has lost all four of those games, and now heads into the Patriot League Tournament with many question marks and little confidence. The Raiders, meanwhile, rank fifth in the league in scoring with 66.2 ppg, led by the trio of Reed, Zidar and sophomore Jon Simon. Reed leads the team with 13.1 ppg, followed closely by Zidar (12.5 ppg) and Simon (12.4 ppg). The Raiders have more potent offensive weapons than the Mountain Hawks, and the team hopes to take advantage of that offensive edge tomorrow evening. With both teams winning on their home courts, the battle will be fierce on the neutral court of the Hart Center. The Raiders expect to reach the semifinals for the second consecutive season, where a match-up with perennial league-topper Holy Cross likely looms.