Men’s basketball loses to Colgate in final minute

AU unable to maintain lead late on District Day

Men’s basketball loses to Colgate in final minute

Freshman forward Mark Gasperini drives to the basket against a New Hampshire defender in a non-conference game on Dec. 6. 

AU men’s basketball fell 70-65 in the last minute of its Phil Reeves District Day game on Sunday in Bender Arena against the Colgate Raiders, despite freshman forward Mark Gasperini’s best efforts, whose 18 points carried the team until he fouled out at the end of the second half.

“A lot of stuff that we’ve been working with him [Gasperini] on sort of showed up. He’s getting confident, he’s getting comfortable down there, so I was happy with everything he did offensively, making hard moves, [and] finishing plays,” head coach Mike Brennan said. “So now it’s just [making sure we are] keeping him on the court.”

The Eagles (5-16, 2-8 Patriot League) held a significant lead over the Raiders (7-16, 5-5 PL) during the first half, including a 14-point lead with nearly six minutes left in the first half. The lead was in large part due to Gasperini, who had made seven out of eight attempted shots during the first half and made for a good partner for freshman point guard Sa’eed Nelson during the game.

The two had a constant rhythm, with Nelson utilizing Gasperini’s 6’10” frame to create separation from defenders off screens and drive to the basket. Within the first 30 seconds of the game, Nelson and Gasperini had demonstrated this rhythm with consistent passing between the two. This play was completed with a last move by Nelson to give Gasperini room to get under the basket for a layup. The layup, made by Gasperini, put the first two points of the game on the clock.

The Eagles closed the first half with a leading score of 31-28. At the start of the second half, Colgate began to close the gap with a layup in the first 30thirty seconds that put the score at 31-30. The second half proved difficult for the Eagles, with a constantly shifting degree of distance from the Raiders on the scoreboard.

With nearly four minutes left in the game, Gasperini had committed his fifth and disqualifying personal foul. After Gasperini’s departure, Colgate forward Will Rayman scored a free throw which put Colgate at a tie with AU 58-58. Two minutes later, Rayman made a layup that put Colgate in the lead over AU 64-62.

Nelson made a three-pointer with nearly a minute left which put AU in the lead again, 65-64, but Colgate responded with a three-point field goal from Sean O’Brein to give the Raiders the lead for good. The Eagles missed shots on their final two possessions with opportunities to tie the game.

The next AU men’s basketball game will be on Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. against Bucknell in Bethlehem, Pa.

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