The Raiders faced two division rivals this week, taking on Holy Cross at Worcester on Thursday
before hosting American on Saturday. Coming off a week where the Raiders lost a game they felt they could have won, the team was hungry to get back on track.
“The Lafayette game was a tough loss for us. We strive to defend our home court, so having Lafayette steal a game at Cotterell did not sit well with us. As a veteran team, we understand that bumps in the road to a championship will happen, but it is how the team responds to those bumps that is important,” junior guard Austin Tillotson said.
Against Holy Cross, the Raiders came out angry. Senior center Ethan Jacobs had 10 points in the first half, en route to a nine-point lead at halftime. After the break, however, the Holy Cross Crusaders were unstoppable. Earlier this season, Colgate beat Holy Cross by 14 points on Cotterell Court. The first half seemed reminiscent of that beatdown, with Colgate physically outmatching the Crusaders, and dominating the paint as they built a solid lead. The second half was altogether a different game. Holy Cross upped its intensity on defense, shutting down the Colgate offense for a seven minute spurt in the second half, which allowed the Crusaders to regain the lead, and cruise to a ten point win.
On Saturday, the Raiders set the tone early against the American Eagles, scoring each of their first two buckets in the paint, and taking the ball to the rack on each of their first couple possessions. Colgate continued to build on their early lead, hitting two three-pointers in a row, and jumping out to a 14 point lead with 11 minutes to go in the first. Colgate continued its dominance, knocking down three after three en route to a 34-14 halftime lead.
During halftime, Colgate honored the 20th anniversary of the 1995 and 1996 men’s basketball teams, the last Colgate teams to make it to the NCAA tournament. It was a nice ceremony and a great way to commemorate Colgate’s
After the half, American came out with an intensity they did not have in the first half. Senior forward Kevin Panzer set the tone with an emphatic dunk on the Eagles’ first possession. This push, however, did not make much of a dent in the Raiders’ lead, and Colgate made a run of its own late in the second half to push its lead to 25 points with seven minutes remaining. The Eagles did manage to make a final push at the end of the game, bringing the final score to 59-43 and making this game appear much closer than it was. Tillotson led the Raiders in points, chipping in 15 points on 6-11 shooting. Colgate got back on track with its three-point shooting, hitting 50 percent from behind the arc, and getting many of these wide-open attempts after establishing a post presence that condensed the Eagles’ defense.
Tillotson had some interesting remarks after the game when asked how the team is looking forward to the latter part of the season and the Patriot
“The Patriot League tournament is the most important part of the year, but it is far away. The only thing that we can control is getting wins, so that we can place ourselves in the best position to win the tournament. Our goal is to end the regular season as the first overall seed in order to maintain home court advantage through the playoffs,” Tillotson said.
Currently, the Raiders sit atop the Patriot League with a 8-4 conference record to accompany their 11-14 overall record. Bucknell looms one game behind the Raiders. Colgate looks to continue its dominance of the Patriot League this week when they host Navy and Army on Saturday, February 14 and Wednesday, February 18, respectively.