HAMILTON, NY — Monday nights are usually quiet across the college basketball landscape, with teams from the MEAC and SWAC usually occupying the bulk of the game slots.
January 8th features both those conferences, as well as the Patriot League. On the same night as the College Football National Championship, there aren’t any top 25 match-ups or power conference teams in action, and the attention of most fans will be on the gridiron as opposed to the hardwood.
With that said, there are still some intriguing match-ups across the college basketball world. One of those games comes from the aforementioned Patriot League, where the Navy Midshipmen will visit the Colgate Raiders in the fourth game of conference play for both teams.
The Midshipmen and Raiders are a part of a seven-way tie for first place in the conference standings, sitting at 2-1 through three games. The race for the Patriot League crown is shaping up to be an exciting one, and a win for either Navy or Colgate could go a long way when all is said and done.
Here’s what you need to know in advance of Monday’s tilt between the Raiders and Midshipmen.
Last Time Out
In their previous outing, the Midshipmen extended their winning streak to a modest two games with a strong performance against the American University Eagles. With the exception of a 2-0 deficit in the opening 30 seconds, Navy led for the entire game, coming away with a 70-64 victory. They led by as many as 15 points in the first half.
Bryce Dulin hit seven three pointers on the day, finishing with 23 points to go along with five rebounds and three assists. Fellow guard Hasan Abdullah added 11 points and six assists, while big man Evan Wieck chipped in with 13 points and five rebounds for the Midshipmen.
It was also their seventh win over their last nine outings.
On the contrary, the Raiders saw their four game winning streak come to an end the last time they stepped on the hardwood. Thanks to a three pointer from Justin Jaworski with just three seconds left on the clock, Colgate fell on their home court against the Lafayette Leopards, 71-68.
Colgate had three players reach double figures in the loss. Forward Jordan Swopshire led the Raiders with 21 points and six rebounds, while senior guard Sean O’Brien added 16 points of his own.
The Raiders were held to 38.5% shooting from the field, while the Leopards shot 46.6% themselves.
Back in the 2016-17 season, Colgate and Navy split their regular season series, with each team winning on their home court. The second of two meetings came on February 4th, 2017 in Hamilton, NY. The Raiders held down their home court, and put an end to the eight game winning streak for the Midshipmen in the process with a 55-52 victory.
Navy’s eight game winning streak started with a win over Colgate on January 8th, 67-55.
Shawn Anderson scored a team-high 12 points for the Midshipmen, who shot just 19% (4-of-21) from three point range in the loss. The Raiders were led by Swopshire, who recorded 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting from three point range.
Players to Watch
Navy – Bryce Dulin
Senior guard Bryce Dulin is having himself a career year to end his tenure with the Navy Midshipmen. The 6’4” guard from Nixa, MO is averaging 12.0 points per game, up from his 9.3 points per game as a junior last season. During conference play in his junior season, Dulin burst onto the scene when he recorded double-digit points in eight of 10 games over the months of January and February. This season, he has continued his upward trajectory. Dulin has four games with 20 or more points under his belt in 2017-18, including a 30-point performance against the Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens on December 1st, 2017. Last time out against American, Dulin showed that he can bounce back in a big way after a down game. He posted zero points in the Midshipmen’s win over the Lehigh Mountain Hawks, but responded with 23 points against the Eagles. He will look to build off that performance on Monday night against the Raiders.
Colgate – Sean O’Brien
While his minutes have dipped slightly from last season, senior guard Sean O’Brien is still an impact player on both ends of the floor for the Colgate Raiders in 2017-18. The native of Lafayette Hill, PA is averaging 10.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.4 steals per game, while shooting 38.6% from the floor and 86.2% from the free throw line. He is one of four players for Colgate to average double-digit points per game this season, and all four players have played in all 14 games this season. O’Brien has at least three rebounds and three assists in nine games this season, highlighting his ability to affect the game on both ends of the floor. Add in the fact that he has recorded double digit points on seven occasions, and it’s clear to see the talent he has. The veteran brings a wealth of experience to the court with him each time out, and will look to carry the Raiders past the Midshipmen in a tough test to open the week.
Colgate comes into Monday’s tilt on the heels of a loss that ended their four game winning streak. On the contrary, Navy has won back-to-back games, and have seven wins in their last nine contests.
The Raiders are looking to get back on the right track and move above .500 for the season, while the Midshipmen are looking to keep their positive momentum going. In the seven-team logjam atop the Patriot League standings, a win would push either team ahead for the time being.
Both teams come in evenly matched across the board this season in terms of statistics. On their home floor, we give the slight edge to the Raiders. This is a game that could easily go either way, but we’ve got Colgate picking up a slim win over Navy to move to 8-7 on the year.
Colgate – 73
Navy – 70
– T. Bennett