Men’s Basketball Drops Opener

Matthew Washuta

The Colgate men’s basketball team kicked off the season with a road trip to an ACC foe, Wake Forest, and showed flashes its impressive potential early on. The Raiders displayed a dominant team performance and took Wake Forest to the wire but the team ultimately lost to the Demon Deacons 89-78.

Led by senior guard Pat Moore and sophomore guard Austin Tillotson, the Raiders jumped out to an early lead with some impressive shooting and stingy defense. The team took advantage of its possessions early in the game finding some crisp, open three-pointers and banking them, instilling some added confidence in its offensive scoring opportunities.

Tillotson kicked off the phenomenal start offensively with some Tony Parker-esque drives in the paint and all-around offensive output. His seven straight points early in the first half provided the Raiders with a 10-6 lead on the ACC foe.

The Demon Deacons tried to answer with some shots of their own but the Raiders maintained their composure and confidence and adeptly answered every attempt Wake Forest made to gain a lead. Moore provided some solid threes, something of a specialty for the senior, to help maintain the Raider lead. In banking an intimidating 62.5 percent of his three-pointers, Moore provided a constant offensive presence throughout the game, leaving the Demon

Deacons with no answer for him.

The Raiders maintained the lead throughout the first half with its dominant shooting and aggressive play in the paint. Tillotson and junior guard Luke Roh led the fast break quickly creating scoring opportunities for the team allowing it to finish the first half banking a stellar 47.4 percent of its three pointers and 45.5 percent  of all other shots. The team’s 22 points in the paint proved the added potential strengths the team has inside the paint in addition to its dominant three-point shooting.

Despite the quick lead changes the Raiders consistently found ways to score and keep up with Wake Forest’s ferocious drives in the paint. Junior center Ethan Jacobs worked to marginalize Wake Forest’s attempts in the paint and provided some intimidating answers to the Demon Deacon’s drives banking some three-point shots of his own and providing some scoring opportunities for the team in the paint.

The Raiders were able to hustle to the locker room for halftime with a 40-38 lead. The second half didn’t go quite as planned for the Raiders though. Both teams started the second half strong and the Raiders even built the lead to as much as an eight point advantage. But Wake Forest’s offense in the paint proved too much for the Raiders. The team scored 50 of its 89 points in the paint, largely due to the stellar efforts of Wake Forest sophomore guard Codi Miller-McIntyre who had a stretch of 14 straight points in the second half for the Demon Deacons. Wake Forest sophomore guard Devin Thomas also responded to the seemingly successful Colgate offensive and defensive performance with 23 points of his own. The two ultimately combined for 44 of the team’s 89 points.

The Raiders remained tough and continued to find efficient scoring opportunities providing a strong response to the Demon Deacon’s lightning-quick offense. Ultimately, Wake Forest’s offensive work in the paint, especially in the second half, proved too much as the Raiders struggled to control the paint on defense. The score, though close, doesn’t reflect the battle the two teams fought as each brought a tremendous offensive effort to make the game a thrilling debut for both teams’ seasons. The Raiders will look to continue to prove its potential with a road trip to nearby Syracuse, which is currently ranked number nine in the country and earned a trip to the Final Four last season, at the Carrier Dome on Saturday at 4:30p.m.

Contact Matt Washuta at [email protected]