The Raiders traveled to West Point, N.Y. last Wednesday, January 21, to take on Army and try to separate themselves from Bucknell for sole possession of the Patriot League lead. In a game that came down to the wire, Colgate fell by a final score of 65-63. Down 62-63 with fewer than 20 seconds to go, Army’s Tanner Plomb hit his fourth 3-pointer of the game to give the Black Knights a two-point lead. Coming out of a timeout, Colgate committed a foul that sealed the game for Army.
Senior guard Damon Sherman-Newsome led all scorers with 19 points, while senior forward Matt McMullen pulled down 13 boards. Unfortunately, the Raiders lost the game and headed into their Saturday match up against Loyola with a 5-2 Patriot League record to accompany their 8-12
Saturday’s game against Loyola proved to be a thriller, with Sherman-Newsome scoring the game-winning lay-up with merely 19 seconds left to play. The Raiders narrowly edged out the Greyhounds 59-58 despite leading for the majority of the game. Colgate maintained their unbeaten record at home this season against Patriot League opponents in front of a crowd of over 1,000 whom head coach Matt Langel lauded for “mak[ing] a great environment.”
The Raiders headed into halftime with a seven point lead, but saw their lead dwindle and turn into a two-point deficit with under two minutes left in the game. Rather than burn one of his timeouts to set a play, coach Langel opted to keep his players on the floor in favor of not allowing “their defense to get set.” This choice proved to be the right one, with “the guy that’s been carrying us on the offensive end” coming up with a great slash to the basket when his number was called.
Sherman-Newsome has certainly heightened his play this season, becoming the focial point of the offense in the absence of last year’s star, Murphy Burnatowski.McMullen shut-down the Greyhounds’ final possession with some stout on-ball defense and blocked Loyola’s leading scorer Eric Laster’s shot to seal the close win for the Raiders.
Aside from Sherman-Newsome’s clutch play down the stretch, the Raiders had great distribution in their scoring, with senior center Ethan Jacobs scoring 11 for the second straight game and McMullen tallying 12 on an impeccable performance, shooting 100 percent from the field on all four
attempts and knocking down three out of three free throws.
Senior captain Luke Roh touched on the importance of scoring distribution earlier this season when asked about how to fill Burnatowski’s shoes. “We have a lot of guys who can score in bunches and do all of the things that Murph was able to do, so it will be a communal effort to try to replace what he did,” Roh said.
The Raiders seem to be doing a great job of filling the offensive needs, but credit this to the astounding 3-point shooting of the team this season. While Roh pointed to missing “six wide open shots” in the opener against La Salle this season as the deciding factor of that loss, the Raiders have turned around their shooting and are making an incredible 45 percent of all 3-pointers against Patriot League opponents.
For some perspective on how good that is, consider that NBA Guard Stephen Curry has a lifetime 3-point percentage of 43 percent, and he is widely considered the best shooter in the league.
This Saturday the Raiders hit the road for what should be a great game this Saturday against the Bucknell Bisons as they battle for sole possession of first place in the Patriot League. The Bison are riding a four-game win streak against Patriot League opponents, most recently dismantling Boston University in a 15 point rout.