Men’s Basketball Loses Season Opener

Quinn Daly

The Colgate men’s basketball team opened their season against the La Salle Explorers in Philadelphia, Pa. coming out on the wrong side of a 57-52 result. La Salle fans came out in full force, packing the 3,400 seat arena and creating a hostile atmosphere for the Raiders to play in. 

La Salle has historically had a great basketball program, making it to the NCAA Final Four two times in their history and winning the championship in 1954. In 2013, the Explorers made a deep run in the tourney beating Boise State, Kansas State and Mississippi before falling to Wichita State. While this year’s team does not feature Tyrone Garland or Ramon Galloway who were the heart of that roster, this year’s Explorers still hold the same gritty, crash-the-boards mentality that makes them such a great program. 

“We played a typical Philadelphia style game with both teams battling for their lives each and every possession,” Raiders head coach Matt

Langel said of the matchup.

The Raiders came out of the gate with great intensity, fighting to a seven-point lead multiple times throughout the first half, but ultimately saw their lead dwindle towards the end of the half. Throughout the second half La Salle led by small margins, and while Colgate put together small runs throughout the game, they were never able to overtake the Explorers once La Salle seized the lead. Colgate rebounded well throughout the game, winning the battle of the boards 36-35 against a very oversized

Explorers front court. 

Senior center Ethan Jacobs led the team in scoring with 12 points,

followed closely by senior guards Austin Tillotson and Damon Sherman-Newsome who each added 11. The diversity of scoring options is certainly something positive Colgate can take away from the game as they are not reliant on one player putting up big numbers for them to be successful. Senior forward Matt McMullen led the team in rebounds, pulling down six boards for the Raiders to go with his team-high two steals. 

As the Raiders move forward, they will have big shoes to fill this season as one of the centerpieces to last year’s success, forward Murphy Burnatowski, has graduated. Burnatowski was a big threat from downtown, shooting 38 percent from behind the arc last year while also being a force on the defensive end. Colgate shot 4-21 on three-pointers Saturday,

something coach Langel pointed to as uncharacteristic of his team.

“We missed some open threes with a few of our best shooters getting the looks we wanted” Langel said of where the Raiders could have improved. 

The Raiders’ schedule this season features trips to perennial powerhouses Ohio State and nearby rival Syracuse University on December 6 and 22, respectively. While viewed as big underdogs against these teams that feature future NBA players, the Raiders have historically been quite a nuisance for big name schools, losing to Georgetown last year by a mere six points. 

Colgate travels to North Carolina this weekend to take on Campbell University. Tip off is set for 2 p.m. Two days later, the Raiders continue their road trip, playing James Madison University at 7 p.m. on their home court in

Harrisonburg, Virginia.