Men’s Basketball Fulfills Preseason Hype, Start Out 5-2

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Junior forward Will Rayman earned all-league second-team honors last season and is favored by league directors to capture first-team honors this season. 

Gideon Hamot, Assistant Colgate Sports Editor

The Colgate Men’s Basketball team continued their hot start to the season this week as they played two away games against non-conference opponents, going 1-1. The Raiders entered the week at 4-1 having pulled off four straight victories after an opening day overtime loss to New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). This start is the program’s best since 2007.

Last season was one of hope and near-glory for the Raiders men’s basketball team. They had an excellent regular season, going 12-6 in Patriot League play. In the end, however, they fell to Bucknell in the championship 83-54, coming up one game short of March Madness.

They had multiple team members honored for their performance: (current) junior forward Will Rayman earned All-League Second Team honors, sophomore guard Jordan Burns earned All-Rookie honors, and head coach Matt Langel captured the prestigious Coach of the Year award. Given their talented crop of young athletes and excellent coaching, there is no reason the Raiders cannot take that next step forward in 2018-2019.

Last week, the Raiders took on a heavily favored Syracuse team that opened the season ranked in the top 15 in the AP poll. History was not on the Raiders’ side as the team had not defeated the Orange since 1961 and have dropped 52 straight contests to them in that time span.

Despite this, Colgate came out firing, gaining and maintaining a lead until under three minutes left in the first half. The run was sparked by Rayman who had 13 points and five rebounds including three from beyond the three-point arc. The Raiders collectively hit eight from three, which ac- counted for 24 of their 32 first-half points. Despite the hot shooting, the Raiders found themselves down at the half 35-32.

Not to be easily defeated, the team continued to give the Orange all they could handle in the opening of the second. A pair of early threes from Burns as well as junior 

forward Rapolas Ivanauskas gave the team a quick 38-35 lead and five points from Burns over thirty seconds helped the team deal with a pair of shooting fouls. How- ever, Syracuse began to find their rhythm on both ends of the floor and on the glass allowing them to rally off a 28-3 run over the next eight minutes that put the game out of the Raiders reach. The Orange went on to win 77-56. Despite the loss, the Raiders led the game for nearly 15 minutes. It is the second year in a row that Syracuse did not go to their reserves on the bench.

In the second game of the week, the team took on Siena. The Saints entered the game at 2-3 having lost earlier in the week to the Patriot Leagues Lehigh 80-69. In the opening half, the Raider maintained a steady two-possession lead of a solid team effort. Burns lead the way with 14 points including four field goals from beyond the arc and Ivanauskas had eight points and seven rebounds of his own. The team went a combined 7-13 from three with Junior forward Will Rayman going 2-3 in the first as well as sophomore guard Jack Ferguson hitting one from downtown for three of his seven points. The teams remained evenly matched down the stretch in the second half with Burns adding 11 points in the second half for a total of 26 and Ferguson hitting two more 3-balls for 15 in the half and a total of 22. Burns now sits third in the Patriot League with 16.6 points per game. A series of missed free throws from Siena’s Manny Camper put the game out of reach late and the Raiders took a 84-79 victory.

The Raiders finish the week at 5-2 with Siena suffering its third loss this season to a Patriot League team. The season continues next week as the team heads to Florida for a duo of games against South Florida as well as Florida Gulf Coast. The squad returns to Hamilton on December 15 when they take on Marist College.

Contact Gideon Hamot at [email protected]