The Associated Press . Colgate's Yaw Gyawu (33), a Parkview grad, takes a shot past Rutgers' Gregory Echenique (00) this season in Piscataway, N.J.
As the losses began to mount for the Colgate basketball players, so did the mental strain.
There were plenty of close setbacks, including a narrow 77-63 loss to Connecticut. And then there were some rough ones, like a 92-58 blowout at Syracuse.
All of those added up to an 0-9 start, its worst beginning to a season since 1988-89.
"We did get off to a little bit of a rocky start, but we stayed focused," said Colgate sophomore Yaw Gyawu, a Parkview grad. "When we hit Dartmouth, we turned it around. ... But it was definitely a struggle. A lot of thinking went on during that time. It didn't make any sense. Things weren't going in our direction. The main thing we had to do was stay positive and pick each other up."
Gyawu and his teammates survived the rough patch, giving renewed hope for the remainder of the season. The Red Raiders won five of six games after the winless start and also won their first Patriot League game, though they enter this weekend on another three-game losing streak.
Through the wins and losses, Gyawu has been one of the team's two consistent scorers.
He averages 15.5 points -- second to senior guard Kyle Roemer's 18.9 -- and 4.3 rebounds. Now playing on the wing, the 6-foot-5, 220-pounder still makes 51.7 percent of his shots.
His last two games have been two of his best, with 22 points against American and 19 points and six rebounds vs. Lehigh.
"I feel like I've added more to my game here," said Gyawu, an economics major. "In high school I was more of a post, under the basket and posting people up. Now I take more people off the dribble, take people to the basket more. I'm more versatile. I've got a good mid-range jumper that has helped a lot, too."
The recent three-game losing streak has Colgate (5-13 overall, 1-3 conference) in the bottom portion of the Patriot League standings. But Gyawu and his teammates aren't panicking, since the bulk of the league schedule has yet to be played.
And 5-13 looks better than 0-9.
"We definitely think (we have an NCAA Tournament team)," Gyawu said. "The season's still young. We're definitely not going to count ourselves out of that. We'll keep working and see what happens."
Parkview grad Ty Rowland scored a career-high 20 points in Georgia College and State University's 75-65 win over Armstrong Atlantic last weekend. In the Bobcats' next game on Thursday, Shiloh grad Andre Mikell made a highly contested, 23-footer at the buzzer for the game-winner in a 63-61 victory over Columbus State. ... Ole Miss' Shantell Black, a Collins Hill grad, had a team-high 15 points Thursday night as the Rebels beat rival Mississippi State 66-58. ... Collins Hill's Marissa Rimbert, a freshman at Armstrong Atlantic, tied a season-high with 16 points along with seven rebounds in last weekend's loss to GCSU. Fellow freshman and Collins Hill grad Jazmin Walker added 12 points, seven rebounds and five steals. ... Mill Creek's Monique Weathers has started six games for Benedict College (S.C.), where the freshman averages 3.5 points.
Brunelle in today's East-West Shrine Game
Baylor senior Carter Brunelle will make history for his high school today, when he becomes the first Wesleyan product to play in a college football all-star game at the East-West Shrine Game in Orlando.
Brunelle, who will wear No. 50 in the game, is a former Baylor walk-on who was the team's primary long snapper his final two seasons. He joined the Bears in 2006 and was awarded a scholarship prior to his junior season.
The Duluth resident saw action in 24 career games at Baylor.
Hall one of Mountain West greats
Mountain West Connection released its list this month of the Mountain West Conference football players of the 2000s, choosing Wesleyan grad Chad Hall at No. 9.
Hall played wide receiver and halfback for Air Force from 2004-2007, earning MWC player of the year honors in 2007.
DuBose, Chapple named captains
Dion DuBose of Norcross and Lee Chapple of Greater Atlanta Christian were honored as team captains of Georgia Southern's football team. The two players, who were voted in by their teammates, were given the Captains Award at the Eagles' season-ending banquet.
Hunt gets conference honor
Dacula's Noah Hunt, a Cumberland University (Tenn.) freshman, was named Mid-South Conference wrestler of the week on Wednesday.
Hunt posted three victories at the NWCA Cliff Keen National Duals in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, including an upset of ninth-ranked Akmal Adilov of Great Falls by fall at 6:13. He also defeated Montana State-Northern's Ryan Shelstad 11-2 and Lindenwood's Jake Johnson 12-3.
Hunt is 19-14 this season.
Iduate leads softball honors
Five local products who play softball for Georgia Southern made the school's dean's list for the fall semester, including Norcross grad Nina Iduate. Iduate made the President's List for maintaining a 4.0 GPA.
Softball players on the dean's list, for a GPA of 3.5 or higher, were Stephanie Peet (Central Gwinnett), Sam Russo (South Gwinnett), Jenny Side (South Gwinnett) and Brianna Streetmon (Winder-Barrow).
Gwinnett Grads is a column that runs on Saturdays spotlighting the achievements of past Gwinnett standouts. Coaches and parents are urged to send suggestions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or via fax to 770-339-8081.