The 2014-15 season started out completely different for the Colgate Raiders and the Holy Cross Crusaders.
The Raiders opened the season with a 3 – 10 record in non-conference play, while the Crusaders opened the season with a huge win over the Harvard Crimson.
On Wednesday, the Raiders and the Crusaders showed how different conference play is in comparison to non-conference play, and how it’s essentially a new season.
The Colgate Raiders are now a perfect 3 – 0 in conference, while the Holy Cross Crusaders sit at 0 – 3 in Patriot League. The Raiders rolled to a 74 – 60 victory in front of 705 fans at Cotterell Court.
The Raiders opened the game ice cold from the floor, allowing the Crusaders to race out to an early 6 – 2 lead. Early turnovers by Ethan Jacobs and Damon Sherman-Newsome on back-to-back possessions led to buckets by Eric Green and Taylor Abt for the Crusaders.
Sherman-Newsome would score the Raiders’ first field goal of the game at the 16:31 mark on a fastbreak lay-up in the paint.
Colgate would later take their first lead of the game at 14:29 on another fastbreak lay-up, this time by Austin Tillotson, to give the Raiders a slim 8 – 7 lead.
Holy Cross would stretch the lead back to as many as 4, but Colgate would hang around.
They would trim the lead to 1 on a couple of different occasions, but couldn’t reclaim the lead as the first half wore on.
The lead for the Crusaders stretched to as wide as 6 points, as Robert Champion made two costless throws out of the second media timeout. Sherman-Newsome came back and made a three-pointer to once again trim the lead.
Tillotson would follow that up with another three pointer on the Raiders’ next possession to knot the game up at 19 – all.
Over the next six-plus minutes, both teams would trade baskets, with no team gaining a lead more than 3 points.
Than was until Colgate took a 6-point lead at the 1:54 mark of the first half, thanks to a Sherman-Newsome lay-up, giving the Raiders a 33 – 27 lead.
As the first half came to a close, Champion made a three-pointer with 5 seconds left on the clock to trim the deficit to three points.
Colgate would take a slim 35 – 32 lead into the break.
In the first three-plus minutes of the second half, Colgate opened up on fire on both ends of the floor.
The Raiders opened the half on a 6 – 0 run to stretch the lead to 9, 41 – 32. On the defensive end, a blocked shot from Matt McMullen kept the Crusaders off the scoreboard.
Malachi Alexander would score a fastbreak lay-up in the paint, off a turnover by Sherman-Newsome, to trim the lead to 7.
The teams would continue to trade baskets as the second half wore on, but the game was in danger of getting out of hand, in favour of the Raiders.
As the second half progressed, the Raiders stretched their lead to 18 points with just over 7 minutes remaining. Another three-pointer from Sherman-Newsome capped off the hot streak for Colgate.
Holy Cross would keep fighting, and would keep trying to chip away at the lead. Whenever Holy Cross had a strong offensive possession that resulted in points, the Raiders always seemed to have an answer on the other end.
As the game wore on, Holy Cross never got any closer than 13 points, and the result of the game was never in question.
Malcolm Miller made a three-pointer with just over 1 minute to play in the game, but it was too little, much too late.
Colgate put it in cruise control in the latter part of the second half, as they rolled to the 74 – 60 victory on their home floor.
For the Holy Cross Crusaders (5 – 8, 0 – 3), Malcolm Miller led the way, scoring a team-high 14 points in a losing effort. Robert Champion added in 13 points and 3 rebounds, while Malachi Alexander recorded 11 points and 7 rebounds before fouling out with 1:22 left in the game.
For the Colgate Raiders (6 – 10, 3 – 0), senior guard Damon Sherman-Newsome led the way, scoring a game-high 30 points. Sherman-Newsome was an impressive 11-of-14 from the field, including 6-of-8 from behind the three point line.
Ethan Jacobs added 16 points and 5 rebounds, while Luke Roh added 12 points (5-of-5 from the field) in the win.
Colgate was hot from the field all night, as they ended the night with a sparkling field goal percentage of 65.9% (27-of-41), and 54.5% from behind the arc (12-of-22).
For the Raiders, the win over the Crusaders shows that they have turned a new leaf in the 2014-15 season. After a 3 – 10 record in non-conference play, they are now 3 – 0 in conference play, and seem to be clicking on all cylinders.
In non-conference play, the Raiders played better than their record would indicate, as eight of their ten losses were by 10 points or less. The Raiders are playing at the level most expected them to this season, and they should be in contention in the Patriot League at the end of the season.
Holy Cross, on the other hand, need to figure some things out as they progress through conference play. They opened the season with a big win over Harvard, but have since struggled to a 4 – 8 record since. The Crusaders have lost five straight contests, and are left searching for answers as they move on in 2014-15.
The road doesn’t get any easier for Holy Cross, as they welcome Chris Hass and the Bucknell Bison to town in their next Patriot League match-up. They will be in tough as they look to end their lengthy losing streak and get back on the right track.
For the Colgate Raiders, they go on the road for their next conference match-up, traveling to take on the American University Eagles in their next game. The reigning Patriot League tournament champions will give the Raiders another tough test as they look to extend their winning streak to four games.