Basketball 0-2 in EA Tourney

Matt Washuta

The Raiders lost to The University of Illinois and Marquette in the opening mainland games of the pres-tigious EA Sports Maui Invitational Tournament. The Fighting Illini bested the Raiders 75-55 on Friday and the Golden Eagles beat Colgate 84-63 on Sunday.

The Raiders struggled to keep pace with Illinois’s lights out three-point game in the first half. The Fighting Illini successfully converted an electric 55.6 percent of its three-point attempts giving it a comfortable lead. The offense, led by senior guard Brandon Paul, also had a remarkable inside game.

However, Colgate senior forward Murphy Burnatowski’s fiery offensive effort kept the Raiders within striking distance; his 18 first-half points carried the Raiders throughout the first half.

Despite Burnatowski’s performance, the Fighting Illini were able to secure an 18-point lead going into the second half. While Illinois maintained its lead, Colgate fought hard to remain competitive throughout the game. The Raiders scored 30 team points, and the Fighting Illini scored 32 team points in the second half, making the second half highly competitive. But Illinois’s first-half three-point onslaught provided the cushion it needed to secure a win against the Raiders.

Against Marquette, the Raiders had an excellent first half. The Raiders successfully converted 45.5 percent of their shots from downtown keeping the game competitive. Marquette’s three-point game was also superb, but it was its interior game that determined its win. Marquette held a slim lead with about a minute remaining in the first half leading by only seven points. But, Marquette’s consistent interior game allowed an extension of the lead going into halftime. It outdueled Colgate 28-4, creating a 42-31 lead going into the second half.

The Raiders cooled off a bit on their three pointers, banking only 24 percent of their three-point attempts as Marquette was able to consistently score. Golden Eagles’ junior forward Jamil Wilson had a great game, contributing a team-leading 15-point effort. Fellow teammate, junior forward Davante Gardner, also had a phenomenal inside game making great plays leading to a solid 14 points and six rebounds, four of which were offensive rebounds.

The Golden Eagles also had a solid defensive effort forcing many turnovers. Golden Eagles’ senior guard Trent Lockett’s monster five steals led Marquette’s tough defensive presence and created additional scoring opportunities.

Despite Marquette’s solid inside game and defense, the Raiders were able to find scoring opportunities and led a strong defensive effort as well. Burnatowski again had a phenomenal game recording a double-double. His team-leading 24 points and 12 rebounds rallied the Raiders and frustrated the Golden Eagles at times. Colgate junior Pat Moore contributed a lights-out offensive effort as well successfully banking 57 perfect of his seven three-point attempts.

Colgate’s defense remained resilient, despite Marquette’s size and power. Colgate sophomore Luke Roh was instrumental in keeping Colgate’s defensive presence relevant. He tallied 10 defensive rebounds against the formidable Marquette offense. Despite the strong performances from several Colgate players, the Golden Eagles were able to run away and secure a lead handing Colgate its second loss of the season.

The Raiders will play on Wednesday with a home game against Marist at 7 p.m. at Cotterell Court. Col-gate will also continue the EA Sports Maui Invitational tournament this weekend playing Elon on Saturday. The winner of the Colgate-Elon game will go on to play either Coppin State or Florida-Atlantic for the final of the Regional Games of the tournament.

Contact Matt Washuta at [email protected]