Colgate honored its seniors in a pre-game ceremony this past Saturday and then put on an absolute show against Lehigh. I cannot think of a game that typifies Colgate basketball more than this one. The Raiders shot the lights out of the building and showed true grit down the stretch as their lead was tested time and time again.
Fortunately, the Raiders were able to close out a 61-55 win against Lehigh in what was the last regular season game for seniors Anthony Deriggs, Ethan Jacobs, Nic Lane, Matt McMullen, Pat Moore, Luke Roh and Damon Sherman-Newsome.
The Mountain Hawks came out with a purpose, getting the ball to sophomore center Tim Kempton en route to building an early six point lead. The Raiders responded in a big way, hitting a ludicrous 10 of 12 three-pointers in the game.
The real story of the first half, however, was the separation the Raiders got after subbing in sophomore guard Alex Ramon. The guard gave a big boost for the Raiders on the offensive end, while playing some lock down defense for the Raiders.
“Ramon was huge for us today,” Jacobs said when asked who stood out for the Raiders. In terms of production, Ramon was the spark the Raiders needed.
While Colgate was hitting three-pointers at a very high rate, the Mountain Hawks were still hanging around, only down a couple points. Ramon hit a three-pointer right after being subbed in.
On the next possession, he drove to the basket before spinning towards the baseline and hitting a fade-away bank. After a quick outlet from the made basket, the Mountain Hawks were on a break, but first-year guard Sean O’Brien stepped under the rim and took a charge that fired up the crowd and the bench.
“I have to thank the fans for their support yesterday! They were awesome,” Ramon said about the environment on Cotterell Court. As the season has progressed, Ramon has stepped into a larger role for the Raiders.
He credited much of his confidence to “the trust of the coaches and teammates” in his ability to go out and make plays.
Just before halftime, Sherman-Newsome made history. After a missed layup, he jumped back up and tipped in the rebound with one hand while being dragged down by Lehigh defenders. While the play was certainly jaw-dropping, it was the senior’s 1,000th point of his career which is an extremely impressive feat for a college hoops player. The Raiders entered halftime with a 42-32 lead.
After halftime, Lehigh again came out with great intensity, clawing back into the game. When Colgate could not buy a bucket, they turned to O’Brien, who hit a three-pointer that bounced on the rim four times before dropping.
On the ensuing Mountain Hawk possession, McMullen drew a charge, and the Raiders would never look back. Colgate cruised to a victory, hitting free-throws in the closing minutes to secure a two seed for the Patriot League tournament.
The win made history for Colgate, as the 12 conference wins were the most ever for the Men’s team after joining the Patriot League. Colgate could not be peaking at a better time, with all cylinders clicking right before the start of the postseason.
“We just need to prepare for the next opponent the same as we have all season,” said Jacobs in regards to gearing up for the postseason. The Raiders host the winner of Army vs. Navy on Cotterell Court this Thursday, March 5 for the quarterfinals of the Patriot League tournament.