Twice as Nice: Senior Day and Victory Over Navy

The Colgate men’s basketball team defeated Navy 59-46 after a strong second-half performance, allowing the seniors to go out on a high note for their final home game. The seniors, guard Mitch Rolls, center John Brandenburg, forward Brandon James, forward Lazar Bogdanovic and guard Jared Accettura were honored in the Senior Day festivities. The game was also dedicated to Alzheimer’s Awareness.

Navy was able to take advantage of a slow Raider start and create a lead. However, junior forward Clayton Graham kept the Raiders within reach and minimize the deficit with his stellar performance in the paint. Graham controlled the boards and finished strong with all of his scoring opportunities throughout the first half. He led the Raiders with a dominant eight points in the first half. Graham would finish the game with a career-high 10 points and eight rebounds.

Throughout the first half, the Raiders struggled offensively to find any scoring opportunities. They could not bank any three-pointers from downtown, which are a marquee strength of the Raider offense. 

The team also struggled to successfully convert their foul shots, hitting six of their 13 attempts. Navy took advantage of the Raiders’ offensive woes and find some scoring opportunities of their own, giving them a five-point lead going into halftime.

The second half featured a more energetic Raider team, which efficiently found successful scoring opportunities and played superb defense. The Raider offense was led by Rolls, who was able to find scoring opportunities for his teammates and for himself. Rolls ultimately finished with eight points. Junior guard Pat Moore was also efficient offensively, sparking the Raiders’ three-point game and banking three of his five three-pointers.  He finished the game with a team-high 13 points. The team banked five of its nine attempts from downtown giving them momentum to build a lead and shut down Navy.

The Raiders were also strong on the inside with Graham and junior forward Murphy Burnatowski notching some offensive rebounds. This gave Colgate many second-chance scoring opportunities. The Raiders were able to convert many of these opportunities ultimately scoring 16 second chance points.

The Raider defense was also stronger in the second half, which was highlighted by many steals and a strong presence in the paint. Sophomore guard Luke Roh had an incredible defensive performance leading his team in rebounds, blocks and steals. Roh effectively shut down his opponent and played effective help defense limiting Navy’s scoring opportunities. When Navy did have opportunities to score by driving to the basket, Roh was there to block their shots and collect the rebounds. Roh led all players with nine defensive rebounds.

The team was also efficient in shutting down Navy deflecting many of the Midshipmen’s pass attempts and collecting some steals in the process. Rolls and Roh each collected two steals and charged quickly down the baseline for quick, successful scoring opportunities. The Raiders scored a strong 14 points off of Navy turnovers. Colgate also took care of Navy’s bench players in the second half limiting them to zero points in the second half.

Colgate’s strong second half performance both offensively and defensively helped to create a lead and give the Raiders a win. The win gives the Raiders a 5-7 record in conference play, which puts the Raiders in a tie with American University for fifth place. Colgate will play its last home game of the season on Wednesday against a tough Lafayette team at 7 p.m. and then will travel to Holy Cross on Saturday for its regular season finale.