Men’s Basketball Suffers Yet Another Heartbreaker

Jordan Plaut

The Colgate men’s basketball team is cer­tainly moving closer to playing with the best of the Patriot League, but they’re just not quite there yet.

Despite the efforts of senior guard Mike Venezia and senior forward Sterling Mel­ville, ‘Gate fell to American University by a final of 59–58 at Cotterell Court this past Saturday. The Raiders made only 19 shots from the field while shooting just 29 percent from three.

Senior guard Charles Hinkle was the only player in double figures for the Eagles, but his 23 points were just enough to keep American ahead at the buzzer. Hinkle hit a three-pointer with 33 seconds remaining to give his team the lead for good.

Unlike many of Colgate’s recent games, this matchup was close for a long time as the two teams traded baskets for much of the first half. The Eagles made the first ma­jor run of the game, outscoring the Raiders 11–5, to grab a 25–19 lead with around four minutes left. However, Colgate (7-16, 1-7) was able to put together a quick 5–0 run of its own to close the gap to one at the half.

‘Gate continued its hot streak to start the second half, as Venezia and junior for­ward Brandon James hit back-to-back shots. American (15-8, 6-2) answered right back, however, with five straight points to regain a one-point advantage with just over 16 minutes remaining.

Game play went back and forth for the better part of the next seven minutes be­fore the Eagles were finally able to pull in front. With the score 47–40, junior guard Mitch Rolls led a 12–2 Colgate run to propel the Raiders back into the lead, 52– 49. Again American responded, this time with four straight points to retake the lead heading into the final two minutes.

Like most basketball games, it was pre­cisely at that two-minute mark that each team began to play with a visible sense of urgency. After the squads traded buckets a few times, Hinkle provided the Eagles with a clutch shot from downtown to give them a two-point lead at 59–57. Melville was then fouled shooting and proceeded to split his free throws, the second of which was stolen back by Melville himself. The Raiders called a timeout with eight seconds left and ‘Gate down by only one.

Rolls pulled up from three with three sec­onds remaining and, though he got his own rebound, could not hit the shot. His sec­ond attempt did not go up in time and the Eagles claimed a very important road victory.

Venezia finished with 13 points to lead the Raiders. Senior center Nick Pascale and sophomore guard Pat Moore added nine points apiece while Melville added eight in the painful defeat.

Even though the American Eagles shot a decent 44 percent from the field, including a crushing 7-for-13 from beyond the arc, Colgate outrebounded them 30-29. Once again, ‘Gate took care of the ball on offense, turning it over on just five occasions. Things are sure to improve if the team can re­bound the ball efficiently while maintaining possession throughout the game.

Hopefully the Raiders will have better luck against their next opponent, Lehigh, when they play Saturday, February 11 at 7 p.m. in Bethlehem, PA.

Contact Jordan Plaut at [email protected]