LORETTO - Rob Krimmel's best early season chance for his first career victory slipped away Wednesday evening in his first home game as head coach at St. Francis.
Colgate opened up a double-digit lead in the second half before the Red Flash rallied to tie with three minutes to go. The Raiders, who made 14-of-20 3-pointers, hit two big ones down the stretch to pull away for an 85-76 win at DeGol Arena.
"Not the way we wanted to draw it up," said Krimmel, whose team fell to 0-4. "We wanted to go into Thanksgiving with a win, and we talked about getting better at the end of the day. I thought we did some things in stretches, but consistency, that's got to be our key."
St. Francis led at the half, 37-36, but Colgate shot lights out in a 15-2 run over the first 2:35 of the second half to build a 51-39 lead. The Raiders were 11-of-13 from 3-point territory at that point.
St. Francis rallied, as it usually does at home, and caught up at 68-68 on a layup by Stephon Whyatt with 5:47 to go. The Flash had a chance to take the lead from the free-throw line with 3:33 left, but Ronnie Drinnon made 1-of-2 to leave it tied at 72.
Colgate (3-3) answered with a 9-2 run, sparked by Pat Moore, who finished with a game-high 25 points. Damon Sherman-Newsome hit a 3-pointer for the Raiders, then Umar Shannon, who scored 24, pulled SFU within 75-74 on a bucket with 2:02 to play.
Moore followed that up with two big baskets for Colgate, the first on a drive, then hitting a 3-pointer from the left wing for an 80-74 edge with 44 seconds left. Moore was 7-of-8 from 3-point land.
"That's one of their strengths, and give them credit," Krimmel said of the Raiders' shooting. "We did a bad job of containing dribble penetration. That's one of the things we focus one. We forced rotations, and they found the open man and made those shots. We have to do a better job guarding the ball."
St. Francis remains winless, and next up is a trip to Notre Dame on Saturday. Road games at American and Lafayette offer chances to win, but the Flash's troubles away from home have been well-documented, not to mention that both of those teams already have good wins over Northeast Conference opponents. American beat Quinnipiac and Mount St. Mary's, while Lafayette beat NEC preseason favorite LIU.
The Flash's next two home games are against Lehigh, led by preseason All-American scoring machine C.J. McCollum, and a very good Bucknell team that's 5-0 with a victory at Purdue. St. Francis figures to be decisive underdogs in both of those games.
If the Flash can't beat American or Lafayette, they'll be staring at a potential 0-9 start going into a home game against Kent State on Dec. 20.
Krimmel's biggest challenge over the next few weeks will be to keep his team from getting discouraged as the potential losses pile up before the start of conference play, which is all that really matters for a program like St. Francis.
"We've just got to keep working and controlling the things that we can control," Krimmel said. "Continue to defend, continue to rebound. It seems like a simple formula, but we've got to continue to work and not make any excuses for what Colgate did tonight and our schedule. We've got guys in there that will battle and a staff that will battle."
Stephon Mosley had 15 points, Drinnon and Dom Major 14 apiece for St. Francis. Moore led five Colgate players in double figures.