Hoops, They Did It Again: Men’s Basketball Dominates Patriot League Regular Season

Sloan Martin, Staff Writer

Men’s Basketball Coach Matt Langel has it rolling in Hamilton yet again for the 2021-2022 season. Marking a third time in the last four years, Colgate men’s basketball finishes as the Patriot League regular-season champion. Colgate earned an outstanding in-conference record of 16-2 and totaled an overall record of 22-11 — with its most notable win coming against the Syracuse University Orange back in November. Now, the raiders move on to the one-and-done Patriot League Tournament as the top seed with attainable hopes of returning to NCAA March Madness.

The team managed to keep most of its players from last year, which allowed pre-existing chemistry to carry over into the recent season. However, losing exemplary guard Jordan Burns to graduation posed a challenge for the team to overcome. After a great collegiate career for Colgate, Burns is now pursuing an opportunity in the National Basketball Association (NBA) official minor league. 

In the wake of Burns’ absence, many players have moved into new roles, adapting to find success yet again. One such player is junior guard Ryan Moffat, who nearly doubled his points-per-game this season from 5.3 to 10.2. Impressively, Moffat has been shooting 45.6% from the three-point line and has helped to carry the burden of Burns’ departure. Moffat noted that after an initial adaptation period, the team found its groove. 

“Obviously we lost Jordan Burns and David Maynard to graduation, which were key losses, but we have had a number of guys elevate in their new roles this year. We returned almost all of our guys from last season which I think is a big part of the team’s success.” 

Moffat added that, once the season began, the team took strides to work and succeed as a unit. 

“It took us some time to really click as a unit but once the Patriot League season started we really began to play much better. We finished out the regular season on a 12 game win streak heading into the Patriot League Tournament, and winning the regular-season title by four games.”

Moffat is one of five players to average double-digit points-per-game for Colgate during the regular season this year. Senior guard Nelly Cummings (14.7), senior guard Tucker Richardson (12.5) and returning senior guard Jack Ferguson (12.4) each have also been reliable scorers for the raiders. In fact, all three players eclipsed the 1000-point scoring mark this season, marking an incredible accomplishment for them and the team. 

With these four on the roster, Colgate posed an immense long-range threat which outmatched its Patriot League opponents. The Raiders led the Patriot League with 76.1 points per-game, shooting 40.2% from behind the three-point arc.

“Our first goal of the year to be regular season champions has been accomplished, which is important to get home court advantage until we lose in the playoffs. But now all the focus is on winning the conference tournament for the second year in a row and going back to the NCAA tournament,” Moffat said.

Junior forward Keegan Records also continues to be an offensive and defensive threat around the rim, averaging 10.2 points per game and leading the team in rebounds with 202. Paired with emerging sophomore center Jeff Woodward, Colgate led the Patriot League with 906 defensive rebounds. 

Despite early struggles, the Raiders bounced back to confidently secure the Patriot League regular season. Colgate entered the Patriot League season with a 4-9 out-of-conference record against tough opponents after dealing with injuries and COVID-19 related setbacks. 

Furthermore, in their first Patriot League game of the season, Colgate lost a tough bout to Lehigh University 85-81. As told by sophomore forward Sam Thompson, the early losses only fueled the fire.

“We took a tough loss against Lehigh — our first regular-season game of the year — which set the tone for the rest of the year. Another tough loss to [Boston University] helped us focus on the goals for the year, ultimately winning basketball games.”

Certainly, Colgate stepped up their game for the rest of the Patriot League regular season, ending with a 12 consecutive game win streak. The raiders are now in prime position, with all of their remaining playoff games to be held at Cotterell Court at home after earning the first overall seed. As Colgate looks to make another run towards the Patriot League championship, the team will carry the momentum of the season with hopes of reaching great heights.

 “Our postseason goal: Win the Patriot League Tournament,” Thompson added. “Always, the goal is to win as many games as possible in the postseason. It has been awesome to play at home in front of our great crowd, and we are looking forward to riding the momentum into the next games.”