“On Guard:” Trio of Guards Lead Men’s Basketball Into PL Competition

After perhaps one of its best games of the season, giving the Syracuse Orange a legitimate challenge at the Carrier Dome on December 4, the Colgate Raiders men’s basketball team went on a voyage spanning Florida, back to the friendly confines of Cotterell Court, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. Here is a summary of the team’s action over winter break. The Raider men began the month of December with three games at home, facing Harvard, Division III Hobart and Loyola Marymount. The Crimson entered Hamilton looking to end their three game losing streak. Sophomore guard Jon Simon led the Raiders with 21 points, but it was not enough as Harvard went on to end their losing ways, winning in overtime 85-82. First year guard Kyle Roemer, senior co-captain Andrew Zidar, and junior Alvin Reed also saw double digits in scoring for the Raiders. Harvard’s size, combined with 6’9” Junior center Marc Daniels’ broken metatarsal gave the rebounding edge to Harvard. The Raiders lost the contest on the glass, being out rebounded 40-27. Simon said, “Injuries have definitely hurt our team, although we are a little banged up, we’ve had some guys really step up and play some good minutes for us.” The Raiders looked to put an end to their three-game losing streak as well as build some confidence as the Hobart Statesmen, whom Colgate has defeated 18 consecutive times, made the trip from the Finger Lakes region. The Raiders came out ready to play building a 16-point lead before half time. Led by Zidar and Reed, who scored 28 and 24 points respectively, Colgate cruised to an easy 101-85 victory. Simon added 18 points while senior co-captains Keith Williams added 10 points and eight boards. The Raiders then entertained 6-2 Loyola Marymount on December 21. The Raiders again jumped out to a quick 33-27 half time lead, but could not hold on as Loyola topped Colgate, 64-54. Scoring was held at a premium for the Raiders, as only Reed and Zidar scored in double figures with 19 and 13 points respectively. The Raider’s finally caught a break from the New York winter weather in a post- Christmas tournament at Florida International. Playing against the host Golden Panthers in the first round, Colgate fell, 72-56. Reed again led all Raider scorers with 13 points. The Raiders lost in the consolation game the next day to the Binghamton Bearcats, 65-61. A bright spot for Colgate from the tournament was the play of first-year Alex Woodhouse, who scored a career-high 11 points for Colgate against Binghamton. The month of January began with the Raiders’ Patriot League opener against a struggling 2-12 Army squad. The game turned into a defensive battle, featuring the success of Colgate’s 2-3 zone. Colgate held a 10-point lead late in the second half, hanging on to win its first Patriot League game, 60-56. Simon had a game-high 17 points, while sophomore Dan Gentile scored a career-high nine points. Reed contributed in all facets of the game, with eight rebounds, seven points, and five assists. Following the defeat of the Cadets, the Raiders hosted the League’s hottest team, the Bucknell Bison. Bucknell, riding high after a big victory over St. Joseph’s and the biggest upset in the school’s history over Pittsburgh, is the early favorite to capture the Patriot League title. Colgate again found the 2-3 zone to be effective against Bucknell’s formidable front line. Behind the hot outside shooting of Roemer and Zidar in the second half and a strong team defensive performance, Colgate came back from a 14-point halftime deficit before losing the game, 71-69. Zidar led the Raiders with 21 points, with Reed and Roemer reaching doubles figures as well with 16 and 15 points, respectively. Last week the Raiders began a two-game road stretch, facing Holy Cross last Friday and Dartmouth on the Monday. The Crusaders jumped out to a 10-point lead and never looked back, winning the contest by a score of 74-64. Reed again led the Raiders with 16, while Roemer dropped 15, and Woodhouse had a breakout game with a career-high of 12 points. Colgate then traveled to Dartmouth for a non-league match-up with the Big Green. The Raiders were paced once again by Reed with a game-high 23 points, while Roemer and Simon contributed 14 and 13 points respectively. The Raiders Currently stand at 6-10 overall, including a 1-2 record in the Patriot League. The team still has a chance to compete near the top of the league, thanks to players such as Roemer, who was named the Patriot League Rookie of the Week award three times and leads the league in three-point percentage. Zidar also received the Patriot League Player of the Week award after the Hobart game.