Men’s Basketball Closes Tight Contest on Army

Last Saturday, the Colgate men’s bas­ketball team traveled to West Point, N.Y. where it defeated the Army Black Knights, 77-71. The win gave the Raiders their sec­ond straight victory and fifth in their past seven games.

Sophomore guard Mitch Rolls tallied 23 points, including 16 in the second half, on nine-of-12 shooting to go along with seven assists and three three-pointers.

“We know that on our team we have a lot of guys that on any given night can score over 20,” Rolls said. “It’s just a mat­ter of how teams defend us, and Army left me isolated one on one with their point guards so I looked to be aggressive. It was also a fast paced game where both teams utilized guard play and this also led to Joe scoring 20 and Mike scoring 15.”

Senior guard Joe Hoban contributed 20 points on seven-of-12 shooting and seven rebounds while junior guard Mike Venezia scored 14 points off the bench. Freshman Pat Moore added eight more for Colgate. This win marked the second time the Raiders have recorded a two-game win streak this season.

Colgate took a 16-11 lead in the ear­ly going, but the Raiders relinquished it by halftime. Shots were not falling and the team found itself with a seven-point defecit. Surprisingly, the Raiders came storming out in the second half with hot shooting and solid defense.

Despite being down 39-32 at the half, Colgate scored 45 points to close the game, holding Army to just 32. The Raiders completely dominated the Black Knights, retaking the lead and pushing it to a com­fortable and Colgate-inspired 13 points. Army fought hard to battle back with nine straight points, cutting the Raiders’ lead to 68-64, before Colgate regained control and pulled away for good.

Colgate was able to knock down its three-point shots, play good defense and rebound the ball efficiently. The Raiders’ guards controlled the tempo and scor­ing, combining for 65 points, 12 assists and just six turnovers. They shot the ball well and took complete advantage of open looks from downtown. Still, in many ways, the victory was a total team effort. Those players that did not tally many points contributed off the stat sheet. Whether it was a key block or good help-side defense, the Raiders won the game due to strong, unified play, especially in the second half.

As a team, Colgate shot 51 percent for the game on 28-of-55 shooting. The Raid­ers shot an even better 58 percent from beyond the arc, hitting ten three-point­ers. On defense, Colgate held the Black Knights to 38 percent from the floor. In the second half, Army managed to shoot just 28 percent from the field against the Raiders’ stifling defense. Though Army out-rebounded Colgate and had more as­sists, it could not overcome the difference in shooting.

“We just talked about how we were going to win the game together as a team.” Hoban explained. “We weren’t re­ally worried about the score and how we were down. And nothing really need­ed to be said to get us amped. Person­ally, I just wanted to stay aggressive and do whatever it took to get the win.”

Though Colgate remains four games be­hind Bucknell in the Patriot League stand­ings, the Raiders are still in the middle of the conference.

It is clear that Colgate has become a much more competitive team in the past few con­tests, far removed from the late meltdowns at the beginning of the year.

Recently, the Raiders have come out of the locker room with great confidence and energy that they can hopefully sustain to close the season strong.

This Saturday, Colgate will travel to the nation’s capital to take on the American University Eagles in a 3 p.m. match-up. At 16-7 overall and 6-2 in conference play, the Eagles will be tough to take down on the road. With the recent success of the team, however, an underdog victory is not out of the question for the Raiders