Men’s Basketball Splits Weekend Series

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Ivanauskas Rapolas has recorded six double-doubles over nine games this season

Gideon Hamot, Assistant Colgate Sports Editor

The Colgate Men’s Basketball team continued their season this week with a two-game road trip to Florida to take on The University of South Florida (USF) as well as Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU). The Raiders entered the week with a record of 5-2, one of the teams best starts in recent memory.

The Raiders kicked off the trip against South Florida on Friday in Tampa. The team got off to a hot start moving their lead to six points halfway through the first half when senior guard Francisco Amiel hit a three-pointer to make it 23-17. The game continued in a back and forth fashion. Each time South Florida cut the lead to one possession, the Raiders were able to respond on the other end and were able to take a 36-34 lead into halftime. Sophomore guard Jordan Burns lead the way early as he hit four three-pointers and had a total of 14 points at the half. The team overall shot an incredible 8 for 18 from behind the arc for a 44 percent three point rate while out-rebounding USF through- out the half 17-14.

The Raiders continued their strong play into the opening minutes of the second half. Seven minutes in, back to back three-pointers from junior forward Ivanauskas Rapolas and Amiel helped the Raiders push their lead back to six points. After a South Florida basket, another Rapolas long ball stretched the lead back out again. Soon after, however, the ball would go cold for the Raiders as the Bulls were able to rally of an 18-4 run to take a double-digit lead and put the game quickly out of reach. Despite trailing, Colgate continued to fight and was able to find their rhythm again late. However, the team ran out of time and finished the game trailing 73-63.

In the second game of the weekend, the Raiders were determined to right the ship against a Florida Gulf Coast team that has made headlines over the past couple of years for their strong performances against the nations best. Colgate was not intimidated, however, and once again came out strong in the first half.

With the score at 16-15 halfway through the half, the Raider defense toughened up and held the Eagles to just four points in the final 11 minutes of the half to take a 30-19 lead into halftime. Once again, Burns lead the way, this time with eleven first-half points assisted by eight from Rapolas. The Raiders learned from Friday and kept the pressure up in the second half, pushing the ball up the court and finding open men in transition at points stretching their lead to twenty-five points.

While FGCU rallied late in the game, the attempt fell far short as the Raiders took the win 74-56. Burns finished with a team-high 19 points with 15 from Rapolas and junior forward Will Rayman chipping in 11 of his own. Rapolas also recorded ten rebounds giving him a double-double, his sixth of the season. At the end of the week, the team’s record stood at 6-3. The Men’s Basket- ball team continues their season on December 8 at Penn State University. They will returns home before the break on December 15 when they play Marist at 2 p.m. at Cotterrell Court. The Raiders will then open up their Patriot League schedule on January 3 at Navy followed by their conference home opener against American three days later.

The team is currently off to their best start since the 2007-2008 season when the team made it all the way to the Patriot League title game before falling to American.

Contact Gideon Hamot at [email protected]