As the season wears on for the Colgate men’s basketball team, one fact has become overbearingly unavoidable – this group of Raiders simply has a tough time winning.
‘Gate’s steady, downward trend was as evident as ever this past week as the Raiders dropped two games in league play. They fell to Lafayette last Wednesday by a final of 82–76 at Cotterell Court, following that with a 16-point loss at the hands of Holy Cross, 76–60 on Saturday.
In its first matchup against the Leopards this season, Colgate (6–14, 1–5) actually performed to a high standard as its 55.4 shooting percentage conveys. Senior forward Sterling Melville led the Raiders with a game-high 19 points, going 8-of- 10 from the floor, but even a personal run of nine-straight points during a 16–8 run in the first half was not enough. Junior forward Brandon James added 15 points on six shots, including a perfect 3-for-3 from downtown and senior center Nick Pascale threw in another 12 to pace the offensive attack.
‘Gate had a few opportunities to put Lafayette (9–12, 4–2) away early in the game, going up 42–34 with just 1:28 left in the first half, but the Leopards clawed back every time. They closed the second quarter with back-to-back threes to cut the lead to just two at the break.
As has happened many times this season, the Raiders came out flat in the second half and allowed Lafayette to take control of the game. Even though Colgate was hitting shots fairly consistently, it could do little to slow down the effective offense of the Leopards. Down 72–63 with just over three minutes left to play, James hit a couple threes to spark a comeback.
With the score lingering at 77–73 with 50 seconds to go, it appeared as though the Raiders might have had a shot of pulling out a hard-fought win. However, it was not meant to be as Lafayette nailed five free throws down the stretch to seal its fourth league victory.
The Raiders had a plus-12 turnover differential, a significant improvement, but they could not stop the Leopards’ timely shooting.
In their next contest, the Raiders headed to the Hart Center in Worcester, Mass. to battle the Holy Cross Crusaders. Unlike their preceding effort, the Raiders were never able to get off the ground and drudged along until the final buzzer mercifully sounded.
Junior guard Mitch Rolls and senior guard Mike Venezia provided the few highlights for Colgate, pouring in 14 and 13 points, respectively.
Holy Cross (9–12, 3–4) opened the game with an 11–5 run in the first four minutes of play and extended its lead to 19–7 with 13:34 left in the game. Colgate made a few buckets to trim the lead to 10 with 10:36 left, before the Crusaders closed the half with a 20–13 run to take a 41–24 lead into the half.
Holy Cross came out strong in the second half but the Raiders responded with a 15–4 run, including back-to-back three pointers from Rolls to make it 47–39 with 16:28 left. Colgate then continued its attack with an 11–6 run over the next seven minutes to trim the lead all the way down to 53–50. Unfortunately, that was as close as the game would get as the Crusaders were able to put together a 23–10 run to claim victory.
Guard Devin Brown finished with a game-high 27 points to lead Holy Cross, while Phil Beans scored 16.
Holy Cross shot 46.4 percent from the floor, including 8-of-20 from beyond the arc, while Colgate shot just 37.3 percent overall and 8-of-22 from downtown. Unlike their recent contests, ‘Gate could not find its stroke consistently. The Crusaders also won the battle on the boards 43–29, but Colgate again had a great turnover differential at plus-11 for the second straight game.
If you don’t turn the ball over, good things are likely to happen. Those things just don’t seem to be headed in a favorable direction for Colgate men’s basketball.
Contact Jordan Plaut at [email protected]