The Colgate men’s basketball team finally made strides to improve its game, splitting contests against Army and Navy over the past week.
Three Raiders scored in double figures against the Black Knights, but it wasn’t enough as they fell 91-75 last Wednesday night at Christl Arena.
Senior guard Mike Venezia led the Raiders with a team-high 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 2-of-3 from behind the three-point line. Sophomore guard Pat Moore was second on the team with 15 points, while junior guard Mitch Rolls pitched in 14.
Colgate (6-13, 1-4) opened the game with five-straight points from Rolls and Moore, before the Black Knights battled back to tie the score at seven with 17 minutes remaining. The Raiders then built and extended a lead to make it 18-12 before Army answered back with a 9-2 run to reclaim a one-point lead with about 10 minutes left. Moore then drained back-to-back three-pointers and senior Sterling Melville added a layup to give Colgate a 28-21 lead with 8:27 remaining. After a small run by the Black Knights, Colgate exploded with a 13-2 run to build its largest lead of the game at 13 with 3:14 remaining. But the lead didn’t last too long as the Black Knights closed the half with a 9-0 run to trim the Raiders’ lead to 45-41. Moore scored all of his points in the first half as he connected on 6-of-7 from the floor, including 3-of-4 from downtown.
Army (9-10, 2-2) started the second half with a 21-6 run to build a 62-51 lead with 13 minutes remaining. The Raiders tried to bounce back as Rolls hit a three pointer to spark a 7-2 run to trim the lead to 63-58, but unfortunately that was as close as the game would get. The Black Knights closed the game by scoring 28 of the next 45 points to claim its second Patriot League win of the season.
Senior guard Julian Simmons finished with a game-high 24 points to lead Army. Junior forward Ella Ellis added 22 points with six rebounds and five assists.
Though ‘Gate shot 51.7 percent overall and 42.9 percent from downtown, they could not overcome their 17 turnovers and Army’s equally impressive shooting performance.
Luckily, the Raiders took advantage of yet another shot at redemption, beating the Navy Midshipmen in overtime at Cotterell Court by a final of 65-54 to earn their first league win.
Junior center John Brandenburg was a definite bright spot for ‘Gate, pouring in a career-high 17 points including six in overtime. Freshman guard Luke Roh contributed seven points, six rebounds and three assists to complement Melville’s six points and seven rebounds.
The Raiders finally erased the zero in the standings by winning in come-from-behind fashion, trailing by as many as 11 points in the second half. Solid shooting and good defense helped Colgate pull within four with just under two minutes remaining and a three by Venezia made it 49-48.
Navy (3-16, 0-5) seemed to have an answer, however, pulling ahead with a few well-timed buckets to push the lead to three with just 26 seconds left on the clock. After winding down most of the game clock, Rolls hit a three with seven seconds remaining to tie it at 52. A few missed shots later, and the game headed into overtime.
To say that Colgate played well in overtime would be a massive understatement. Incredibly, the Raiders erupted for 12-straight points in OT while holding the Midshipmen to just one basket. Venezia and Brandenburg controlled the game with ease as the clock wound down to a Raider victory.
‘Gate shot a remarkable 53.5 percent from the floor and held Navy to just 36.2 percent. Hopefully they can continue their hot shooting as league play continues.
Contact Jordan Plaut at [email protected]