Men’s Basketball Drops Two in Season Openers

Markes Gonzales

Despite a valiant effort, the Colgate men’s basketball team fell against Binghamton in its season opener this past Saturday night, 62-60 at Cotterell Court and was again defeated 69-66 on the road Monday night against St. Francis in Pennsylvania.

In the second half of the Binghamton com­petition, the Bearcats made a concerted effort to get to the free throw line. They attempted 15 free throws throughout the last half of play. First-year guard Chad Johnson and junior for­ward Sterling Melville were an efficient 4-8 from the field while combining for 14 points. One major highlight was an electrifying dunk by Yaw Gyawu to cut the Binghamton lead to 61-60. Gyawu finished with a team-high 20 points on 9-13 shooting.

The game came down to the wire after Binghamton forward Greer Wright split a pair of free throws to give the Raiders a shot to tie or win with 14 seconds left on the clock. Fol­lowing a Colgate timeout, sophomore guard Mitch Rolls dished inside to find Gyawu in the paint who missed a shot that would have tied the game. Rolls grabbed the rebound and took a three-pointer that also missed the basket.

In the first half of Saturday’s contest, Binghamton got off to an early lead until first-year guard Pat Moore hit a three-pointer to give the Raiders a 24-22 lead. Toward the end of the half, Venezia, who missed most of last season due to an injury, hit a 22-foot buzzer-beating jump shot to give the Raiders a 30-29 lead after the first 20 minutes of play.

“Tonight was a tough loss for us.” Gyawu said. “We have been working hard for months for this moment and it’s tough when your hard work doesn’t produce the results you want. It was our first game of the year and we do have a lot to build on from this game. We can’t dwell on it too much because we have plenty more games left. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”

Colgate has played competitively in its opening weekend, but its efforts have not been represented with rewarding results.

Even though the Raiders have begun the sea­son 0-2, there is clearly talent on the team and the players themselves believe their hard work will pay off big in the end.

“We’re very close to being a good team,” ju­nior forward/center Nick Pascale said. “Overall we feel that we are going to be a lot better than last year if we can play better as a team on the offensive end and if we can play better team defense on the defensive end.”

It is clear that the Raiders played both games with passion and intensity as they continue to work out the kinks to turn their season into a successful one.

Colgate will visit the top-ranked de­fending national champions Duke Blue Devils this upcoming Friday at Cam­eron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina. Tip-off is slated for 8:30 p.m.

Next Tuesday the Raiders will travel to New York City to take on Columbia University at 7 p.m. before traveling to Hanover, NH on the Saturday after Thanksgiving for a 2 p.m. contest against Dartmouth College.