The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Colgate Men’s Basketball Breaks Patriot League Records, Returns to March Madness

Colgate Athletics

For the fourth straight season, the Colgate University men’s basketball team won the Patriot League Championship. This was their seventh title in program history, which puts them in sole possession of the most championships in the Patriot League.

The Raiders started the playoffs by swiftly defeating Holy Cross 81-64 on March 7 in the quarterfinal. Fifth-years Ryan Moffatt and Keegan Records led the Raiders in scoring, with 14 and 13 points, respectively.

Senior forward and Ontario native Sam Thomson spoke about the home crowd in their win against Holy Cross.

“Having students in the building makes a massive difference for us and makes Cotterell Court a very difficult place to play for the other team,” Thompson said.

It certainly looked difficult for Holy Cross: Colgate outperformed them in assists (19-11), turnovers (6-12), fouls (8-17) and steals (8-3). They also shot 57 percent from the field and 47 percent from the 3-point line, compared to Holy Cross’ 48 percent and 29 percent, respectively.

Moving on to the semifinal, Colgate faced Bucknell University at home on March 10. Bucknell started the game with an 8-0 run and led the Raiders 31-16 late in the first half, but the tested Raiders squad was unfazed by Bucknell’s early success. They outscored the Bisons by 12 points in the second half and went on to win 68-65, sending them to the championship. Sophomore guard and Patriot League Player of the Year Braeden Smith led the Raiders with 21 points, followed by first-year guard Jalen Cox’s 15 points.

Records spoke about the team’s resiliency in their semifinal win.

“We faced a challenge when we struggled to make open shots against Bucknell. We just had to trust ourselves and the shots we were taking and it ended up paying off,” Records said. 

Senior Jeff Woodward, hailing from Pennsylvania, also spoke on the win.

“It really tested our ability to stay together and composed throughout the game,” Woodward said. 

On March 13, the Raiders hosted Lehigh University in the Patriot League Championship. By the end of the first half, the Raiders had already taken control, as they were up 45-26 and never looked back. They went on to win 74-55, led by sophomore guard Brady Cummins’ 19 points and Smith’s 15 points. Just like that, the Raiders won their fourth consecutive championship and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Records spoke about how special the game was for him and Moffat.

“Walking off the court with Ryan [Moffat] as fifth-year seniors for the last time was pretty special,” Records said. “Getting time to look around and thank the fans and see my family up in the crowd was very special for me.”

Thomson spoke on the post-game tradition of cutting the nets.

“[It’s] always a cool experience. Once the game is complete, being able to remove something from the court and keep it with you for the rest of your life is awesome,” Thompson said. 

Four days after their championship came Selection Sunday for the NCAA Tournament. From the Seven Oaks Clubhouse, players, coaches, staff and others awaited the big reveal. The Raiders were placed as a No. 14 seed and matched with the No. 3 seed Baylor Bears, with their game scheduled just over a week later in Memphis, Tenn.

Thomson spoke about how fun the Selection Sunday experience was.

“Having our administration, equipment staff, coaches’s families and others who are away from the court share that moment with us is awesome,” Thompson said. 

Records also shared a feeling that many Colgate fans can relate to.

“Every year that I’ve gotten to see Colgate’s name pop up on that bracket has been a special experience. That feeling never gets old,” Records said. 

The game against Baylor was a tough one, as Baylor quickly mounted a lead and didn’t give it up. Baylor finished the first half up 54-34 and built on that lead to win 92-67

The Bears shot 58 percent from the field and 53 percent from the 3-point line, compared to Colgate’s 46 percent and 28 percent, respectively. They also out rebounded the Raiders 33 to 24 and had 17 assists compared to Colgate’s 11. 

But the Raiders had some great performances, too. In his last game as a Raider, Records scored 14 points, including the Raiders’ first eight points. Thomson added 11 points of his own throughout the play. The Raiders also collected 10 steals compared to Baylor’s six, eight turnovers compared to Baylor’s 12 and 12 fouls compared to Baylor’s 15.

Of course, it’s not the outcome that Colgate wanted. Raider fans were looking for an upset, a Cinderella story — a chance to see the season live on for another day. Regardless of the outcome of the game, however, this season’s accomplishments are nothing short of remarkable. Four straight Patriot League championships are more championships than half of the Patriot League teams have in program history. Colgate did it in just four seasons.

It’s also worth noting that the Raiders have accomplished this with a variety of players. This isn’t the case where a school got lucky with one superstar who is leading them to championships; a different player has led the Raiders in scoring in each of the past four seasons: Jordan Burns ’21 in 2021, Nelly Cummings ’22 in 2022, Tucker Richardson ’23 in 2023 and Braeden Smith ’26 in 2024. This just goes to show how much credit Head Men’s Basketball Coach Matt Langel deserves. Langel is now the winningest coach in program history, five-time Patriot League Coach of the Year and has five of Colgate’s seven Patriot League championships.

In 2018, Colgate was tied for the second-fewest titles in league history with two. Today, the Raiders are in first place with seven. In just six seasons, Langel turned a mediocre program into one possessing the most dominant stretch the Patriot League has ever seen.

Every season, it’s hard to say goodbye to the players who are leaving. Fifth-years Moffatt and Records, who we have become so familiar with over the years, have played their final games as Raiders. And, if they don’t return as fifth-years, we’ll also have to say goodbye to seniors Thomson, Woodward, Chandler Baker and Alex Capitano — the class that has won the title in each of their four seasons.

But what’s so exciting about this Raiders team is that they always seem to find a way back. Right when you think it may take a few years to rebuild, they’re still hanging around. So, as we say goodbye to some of our favorite Raiders, we can also look forward to more incredible teams in years to come.

More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Colgate Maroon-News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *