Lehigh Basketball Team Towers Over Colgate Men

Jordan Plaut

 

As Patriot League play wears on for the Colgate men’s basketball team, less and less time remains for the Raiders to actually make something of their season.

‘Gate’s unfortunately poor play was evident over the past week as the Raiders dropped two games in league play. They fell to Bucknell last Wednesday by a final of 66-50 at Cotterell Court, followed by a 20-point loss at the hands of Lehigh, 89-69.

In an extremely difficult matchup against the Bison, Colgate (7–18, 1–9) performed relatively poorly in comparison to its recent efforts. Senior forward Sterling Melville led the Raiders with seven points, while senior center Nick Pascale and first-year guard Luke Roh added six points apiece. Their efforts were not nearly enough to counter Bucknell’s three, double-figure scorers including the reigning Patriot League Player of the Year, junior center Mike Muscala.

‘Gate had few opportunities to gain the advantage against Bucknell (19–6, 9–0) early in the game, going down 12-4 in the first four minutes of play. The Raiders never really caught their breath and were out of conten­tion for the remainder of the contest as the Bison stayed perfect in league play. Colgate did show some signs of life with a 6-0 run at around the 10-minute mark, but Bucknell closed the half on a 6-1 run of its own.

The Raiders, coming out of the break down by 11, did not play their best basketball. Col­gate hit shots occasionally, but the Bison were nearly unstoppable. They built a 37-18 lead before a three-pointer by junior guard Mitch Rolls. Bucknell continued to command the game, however, going on a 19-5 run to push the lead to 24 with 7:27 remaining.

Colgate did have a 18-10 spurt to close the game, but it did little to cheer the home crowd’s spirits.

Bucknell shot 40.4 percent from the field while holding Colgate to just 25.9 percent. The Bison destroyed the Raiders on the boards as well, out-rebounding them 48-31.

In their next contest, the Raiders headed to Stabler Arena in Bethlehem, PA to face off against the Lehigh Mountain Hawks. Unlike their pre­ceding effort, the Raiders jumped out to a decent lead. They were, however, unable to sustain their level of play and ultimately fell 89-69.

Sophomore guard Pat Moore was a bright spot for the Raiders, matching his career-high with 23 points. Moore went 8-of-10 from the field, including an unbelievable 7-of-8 from be­yond the arc, and added five rebounds. Junior center John Brandenburg was the only other Raider in double figures with 10 points.

Lehigh (19–7, 7–3) was at the mercy of the Raiders’ offense early in the game, allow­ing ‘Gate to score five straight points to open the scoring. The Mountain Hawks responded, however, with six straight points of their own to grab the lead. The teams went back and forth with big runs for most of the first half, but it was the Raiders who ended it on a high note; they went on a 20-11 run to take a 46-40 halftime advantage.

Lehigh cut the lead to just one at the start of the second half. But the Raiders responded with a pair of back-to-back three pointers from Moore and Rolls, respectively, to make it 52-45 at the 18:00 mark. After a steal and layup gave Lehigh a two-point lead with 12:35 left, howev­er, they never looked back. Lehigh would go on a 27-3 run, at one point holding a preposterous 84-61 lead.

This game was really a story of hot and cold shooting, as each team wound up at 50 per­cent from the field. Colgate shot an impres­sive 68 percent in the first half and just 33 percent in the second. Lehigh got hot at the right time, shooting 34 percent from the floor in the opening half and a bawdy 70 percent to close the game. ‘Gate lost the rebound battle as well, 33-22, while turning the ball over a rather unlucky 13 times.

Contact Jordan Plaut at [email protected]