FLUSHING, N.Y. – Despite a fast start and an early lead, the Queens College men's basketball team suffered a setback on Saturday afternoon with an 85-69 defeat to the Spartans of St. Thomas Aquinas College, the top team in the East Coast Conference (ECC) standings.
The Knights jumped on the board with their first possession, as freshman forward Kevin Buron knocked down a three-pointer with the shot clock winding down. Buron doubled the advantage (10-5) with a dunk, as Queens took a five-point lead with three minutes barely gone. After a pair of made foul shots by junior guard Simon Green, the Knights found themselves still on top, 20-16, 7:03 into the contest.
St. Thomas Aquinas (STAC) then went on an 11-2 run to take a 27-22 lead, capped by a jump shot by ECC Preseason Player of the Year Justin Reyes, ultimately forcing a Knights timeout with 9:15 remaining in the first half. Out of the timeout, the Knights went on a cold spurt, while the Spartans started to heat up, as they pushed the lead to double digits. A layup by Green cut the deficit down to 10 at 48-38 to end the first half.
The Knights were unable to find answers in the second half, as the Spartans continued to build their advantage. The Spartans answered every run the Knights would attempt in their comeback bid. The Knights committed 13 turnovers in the second half to suffer their third home loss of the season. Queens moved to 12-10 overall and 9-6 in conference play, dropping down to sixth in the regular season standings, while STAC improved to 20-5 overall (13-3 ECC) to stay on top.
Queens was held to 39.2 percent shooting, while STAC shot 51.6 percent from the field. The Spartans scored 35 points off of 23 Knights turnovers, while Queens managed to lead the advantage in rebounds (36-32). Senior guard Diego Maldonado led Queens with 14 points, while fellow senior Tyree White posted 10 points and eight rebounds. Senior Kyheim Chaplin registered 12 points off the bench. Reyes led the Spartans with a game-high 24 points, seven rebounds and six assists, while Aaron Cust and Chaz Watler added 16 and 15 points, respectively.
Before tip-off, Queens College Athletics will host Senior Day, honoring seniors Tyree White, Diego Maldonado, Malcolm Moore, Kyheim Chaplin, Marquis Roberts, Idrissa Gandega, and Fredric Bowers for their dedications to the Queens College men's basketball program.