Coming off their 55-52 win over Navy last week, the Raiders were ready to defeat the Black Knights of Army West Point at home on Wednesday, February 8. The last matchup of Colgate and Army was on January 11, which went into overtime when the Raiders ultimately grabbed the win at 79-76. In Hamilton on Wednesday night, both teams played a strong game, but Colgate was able to top Army 70-58, with great efforts by all the Raiders.
Colgate started the game on a high note, leading 10-0 before Army made it on the board. Army came back with a vengeance and took the lead, bringing the score to 14-13 with just over nine minutes left in the first half. Junior forward Jordan Swopshire turned it around when he scored eight straight points. Army was able to close the gap and bring the score to 25-23, but Colgate first-year forward Will Rayman ended the half with two three-pointers, taking the Raiders to a 31-25 lead.
Still on a roll from his first half performance, Rayman began the second half by scoring five of the first nine Raider points. After an Army streak of 11-2, the Raiders were still on top at 42-38, with 11:26 left in the game. The Raiders were up 48-41, but with just eight minutes left, the Black Knights refused to give up. With the next six points, Army was able to close the gap leaving the Raiders up by just one point.
Rayman fought back and brought the Raider lead up to 55-50, but just like that, the Black Knights came back, scoring four more points, bringing the game back to a one-point Raider lead. With just a few minutes left on the clock, the Raiders were up 55-54, but managed to keep the momentum going and brought the lead to 62-54. Colgate finished out the game with six free throws, ultimately taking the win from Army with a final score of 70-58.
Highlights of Wednesday night’s game include a season-high twenty-two free throws for Colgate, shooting 78.6% from the free throw line. Key players include Junior guard Sean O’Brien, who contributed fifteen points and went 6-for-6 on free throws, and Swopshire, whose 14-point effort marks his fourth straight double digit scoring game.
Additionally, Rayman, a first-year from New York, is having a great first season on Colgate’s team. He has been an essential part of the success of the team this year; his contribution of 28 points to the Raider win make it his fifth 20-plus point effort in a game this season. Head coach Matt Langel commented on Rayman’s performance in Wednesday night’s game and his improvement from the beginning of the season.
“Will Rayman has improved so much as a player. He had some big scoring nights early on in the season, but has improved so much as a player since then. He’s taken less shots and still scored big numbers,”
With their Wednesday night win, the Raiders officially have a winning record in the Patriot League of 7-6, and an overall record of 9-17. Next the Raiders will take on Bucknell, currently first in the Patriot League. The game will take place on Monday, February 13 at 7 p.m. in Lewisburg. It will be interesting to see if the Raiders can capitalize on their momentum as they head into the tail-end of their season.