HAMILTON, N.Y. (COLGATE ATHLETICS) –
Braeden Smith knocked down two free throws with 1.7 seconds left and then came up with yet another defensive stop in a wild 72-70 season-opening win over Brown on Monday night at Cotterell Court.
Smith’s two free throws gave him a team-high 17 points but none were bigger than the pair from the charity stripe in the final seconds. This came after Brown’s Nana Owusu-Anane made his first free throw but missed the second to stay even at 70-70 on Keegan Records’ fifth foul of the night with six seconds remaining.
Colgate called a timeout and drew up the isolation for Smith, who drove to the basket and drew the foul going up for the shot. After making both free throws, he stole the long inbound pass but stepped out of bounds on his way down with the crowd already celebrating.
After a lengthy review, Brown had 0.9 seconds to get a shot off, and they did, but Kino Lilly Jr.’s potential game-winning shot was off line and the Raiders escaped with a 72-70 victory.
“I’m proud of our group,” said head coach Matt Langel. “Some of our experience definitely paid off. We didn’t finish the first half well and we didn’t start the second half well, but the group didn’t waver in their belief in one another and what we were trying to do.
“We didn’t run anything tricky on the final play. We were just trying to get Braeden in some space and use his speed to get a decent shot. He’s fast and he’s slippery. He created some contact and those aren’t easy foul shots – he’s got great confidence and he practices them all the time – but they were big shots for sure.”
Smith led the team with 17 points to go with five assists and three steals. Nicolas Louis-Jacques in his first collegiate start shined with 15 points on 5-of-7 from the field, while Records battled through foul trouble to finish with 14 points and six rebounds.
HOW IT HAPPENED
There were 11 lead changes and nine ties with neither team leading by more than eight points. Both teams’ largest lead came in the first half, but it was deadlocked 31-31 at the half after the Bears scored the final five points of the opening stanza.
Brown led by as many as four points in the second half before Ryan Moffatt connected on a 3-pointer in a 5-0 spurt to put the Raiders back in front 49-48. Colgate pushed its lead to four (56-52) on a tough basket from Brady Cummins, who tallied nine tough points on the night.
“A couple guys who have been in this program for a little while – Brady Cummins and Nicolas Louis-Jacques – really stepped up. It was a good performance overall by the bench. Those two guys have been working hard and they didn’t have tons of opportunities last year but they’ve rewarded themselves and I’m really proud of their performance today.”
Colgate’s largest lead in the back half of the second stanza came when Smith’s two free throws made it 68-65 with 4:10 showing. Brown jumped back in front 69-68 before Louis-Jacques stopped the run with a tough basket in the lane to make it 70-69 with 1:28 left in regulation.
After a couple empty possessions for both teams, Records fouled out on Owusu-Anane’s potential go-ahead layup with six ticks left. Owusu-Anane made the front end of two free throws to tie the game at 70-70, but missed the second to set the stage for Smith’s heroics.
Colgate makes the short trip to Syracuse next Tuesday, Nov. 14. Tip-off from JMA Wireless Dome is set for 7 p.m. on ACC Network.