How They Are Doing So Far:
After their opening game loss at NJIT, Colgate has put together a pretty impressive season. There is not a huge upset on the schedule, yet, but the Raiders have beaten the teams they could beat and only lost to Syracuse and South Florida. Wins against teams like Cornell, Siena, Florida Gulf Coast and Columbia may not sound all that impressive, but all those games were on the road and nobody would be surprised if Colgate was 3-7 instead of 7-3. This experienced team is getting the job done and the rest of the Patriot League has certainly taken notice.
Last Time Out:
All of those wins have not come easy and Wednesday’s trip to Columbia is exhibit A. The Raiders barely slipped past the Lions by a score of 64-62. Sophomore Jordan Burns once again led the way for Colgate, scoring a team high 18 points. Coach Matt Langel also got a much needed offensive spark off the bench from senior Francisco Amiel. Amiel has not been a major scoring threat throughout his collegiate career, but in a low scoring game, his ten points were absolutely huge.
Who To Watch:
Penn State fans may remember former Northwestern Wildcat Rapolas Ivanauskas. The 6-10 forward redshirted with Northwestern in 2016-2017 and played in just three games the following season due to injury. That may not make him particularly memorable, but he was widely considered a top 100 recruit in the class of 2016. And Ivanauskas wasted little time making a big impact with Colgate. On the year he is averaging 14.3 points and 9.9 rebounds. He can dominate on the glass and will give Lamar Stevens a nice battle on both ends of the floor.
Who Else To Watch:
While Ivanauskas dominates the paint, Burns is the main perimeter threat. He averages three made three-pointers per game and leads the team with 18.3 points per game. The sophomore point guard has the ability to take over a game and has scored at least 13 points every game this season except against Nazareth, where Colgate did not need him to score. In Colgate’s worst offensive showing of the season, against Syracuse’s zone defense, Burns was limited to just six shots and all of them were from beyond the arc. If Burns is not driving and either finishing himself or finding a teammate, Colgate’s offense will become stagnant.
On paper this should be a win for Penn State. And after the slow start to Big Ten play and games against tougher competition, most notably North Carolina State and Alabama, the Nittany Lions desperately need some momentum. But this is an experienced Colgate squad that boasts three very talented scorers who can do damage in very different ways. Will Rayman, a 6-8 forward, can stretch the defense with his outside shooting ability, Burns is dangerous when he is attacking the basket and Ivanauskas has added a whole new dimension to this team. If Penn State is caught looking backwards or forwards, they will get a very tough game from a good Colgate team.