Raiders Fall Short Against Holy Cross on Senior Day




The Colgate men’s basketball team lost 65-58 against Holy Cross on Satur­day in front of one of the largest crowds of the season. In what was the regular season finale for both teams, the Raid­ers couldn’t overcome early shooting struggles despite the strong second half play of junior Mitch Rolls. Rolls had a game-high 14 points, including three 3-pointers to go along with 4 rebounds and 3 assists for the Raiders (8-21, 2-12 Patriot League). Sophomore Pat Moore contributed 11 points while junior John Brandenburg and senior Mike Vene­zia pitched in 8 points apiece. Venezia drained two from downtown, bringing his career total to 195, which is fourth all-time at Colgate.

Colgate’s four seniors – Gyawu, Pas­cale, Melville and Venezia – were hon­ored before the start of the game and combined for 20 points and 8 rebounds. Unfortunately, their final game at Cot­terell Court ended in disappointment thanks to the strong play of the red-hot Crusaders (15-13, 9-5).

R.J. Evans led Holy Cross with 14 points and 7 rebounds, while Patriot League Rookie of the Year Justin Burrell chipped in 10 points and 5 assists. The Crusaders extended their winning streak to seven games with the win, and will host Lafayette as the fourth seed in the Patriot League Tournament.

Shots were not falling early in the first for the Raiders, and the Crusaders capi­talized, scoring nine unanswered points en route to a 14-5 lead. Colgate respond­ed with a run of its own and cut the lead to 22-20 with just over eight minutes left to play in the half.

Multiple Raiders contributed to the impressive run, including Moore, who showed off his silky jumper by burying an NBA-range three. Unfortunately for Colgate, the Crusaders didn’t stay cold for long, as forward David Dudzinski drained two mid-range jump shots and Evans used his athletic frame to score easily at the bucket.

Holy Cross ended the half on a 16-4 run, heading into the locker room with a comfortable 14-point lead.

The second half was more of the same for both teams, as the Raiders struggled to chip away at the double-digit deficit against a smothering Crusaders defense. Venezia continued his strong defensive performance as well, shutting down star combo-guard Devin Brown. Brown, who had been averaging 14.5 points per game, including 27 in their first meet­ing, was held to a season-low 2 points on 1-6 shooting.

Fortunately for the Crusaders, Brown’s teammates picked up the slack, as the team combined to shoot 48 per­cent from the field. Their hot shooting allowed them to hold a double-digit lead until Rolls knocked down back-to-back jumpers with just less than five minutes left to play.

Brandenburg also picked up a couple of baskets inside the paint to cut the lead to six points with only 20 seconds remaining in the game. After Justin Burrell missed one of his free throws, Rolls knocked down a quick three to make it 62-58. But it was too little too late for the Raiders as Holy Cross sealed the win by knocking down three out of their next four free throw attempts.

Colgate has now lost six of its last seven games as they head into the Patriot League Tournament, with their lone win in that stretch coming against Navy (3- 25, 0-14).

The team faced Lehigh (23-7, 11-3) in the first round last night at Stabler Arena. The Raiders lost both matchups to the Mountain Hawks this season by an average of 21 points. Versatile junior guard and Patriot League Player of the Year C.J. McCollum, who averages 21.7 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, posed a difficult test for the Raiders on both ends of the court. In fact, he posed so large a threat that Colgate was unable to keep him at bay and they fell to Lehigh 70-57 to end the 2011-2012 season in a disappointing battle.

Contact Travis Basciotta at [email protected].