BROOKVILLE, N.Y. (Jan. 6, 2018) – It was a low-scoring war of attrition on Saturday (Jan. 6) as the Queens College men's basketball team traveled to the Pratt Recreation Center to face the LIU Post Pioneers. The game was close for the entire first half and a good portion of the second half, but LIU Post proved to be too much as the hosts ended up with a 68-58 victory over Queens College.
The opening tip was controlled by LIU Post (6-9, 4-1 ECC), and Alonzo Ortiz-Traylor scored the first points of the game on that starting possession. Queens (4-7, 2-2 ECC) answered back as Jordan Curtis and Isaac Grant hit back-to-back buckets to put the Knights up 4-2 just ninety seconds into the game. The Pioneers answered back with a three-pointer from Jordan Rivers, which came with two minutes and change gone by in the half. The 5-4 lead for LIU Post held serve for almost two-and-a-half minutes until Darian Jenkins knocked down a treble with 15:24 to play in the half. Following a three-pointer by Tyrese Crosdale, Jenkins knocked down another jumper to give LIU Post a 10-7 lead as the Pioneers continued to answer the Knights' early punches.
Tyrone Hall scored the next four points on a three-pointer and a free throw to put Queens ahead by an 11-10 but the Rivers and Jenkins combined for ten points to get the Pioneers ahead by a 20-15 margin midway through the first half. LIU Post increased the lead to eight points with under six minutes to go in the half after a three-ball by Aary Bibens; Crosdale answered with a trifecta to bring the Knights within five with under five minutes remaining. LIU Post took a 26-20 lead with 1:40 to play in the first half before a three-ball by Jelani Williams and a free throw from Simon Green closed out the scoring; the Knights trailed by just two points, 26-24 going into the halftime break.
The second half opened where the first half left off, with both teams struggling to find points on the floor. Hall commenced the scoring with three free throws at the 18:43 mark of the period to put QC ahead by a point at 27-26. Ortiz-Traylor responded with a jumper, as the pendulum of the game's momentum continued to swing back and forth between the two sides. There were, in fact, six lead changes in the first five minutes of the half with Bibens knocking down a three-pointer to put LIU Post ahead by a 33-31 score despite Hall scoring the Knights' first seven points of the frame. Out of a time-out by QC, Isaac Grant knocked down a three-pointer to give the Knights a 34-33 lead...which was then answered just as quickly by a three from Jenkins to put the Pioneers ahead 36-34. Crosdale responded with a three-ball and Queens re-took the lead 37-36 before Grant put the Knights further ahead with a lay-up with 14:17 to play in regulation. However, Jenkins responded with a three-pointer to tie the score at 39-all right after.
LIU Post took the lead back on a three-pointer by Rivers to make the score 42-41 before the Pioneers' unsung hero, Hunter Powell, took control of the contest. The forward from Michigan scored the hosts' next six points beginning with a huge dunk after a QC turnover. Powell's last bucket of the run, a lay-up with 9:45 to play in the half, put LIU Post up 48-45. Two-and-a-half minutes later, the Pioneers upped their lead to eight points with seven minutes remaining after a lay-up by Bibens and a three-ball from Rivers. After a Knights bucket by Terrell Williams, Bibens responded with a lay-up to put the hosts up 55-47 with six minutes left in regulation.
With under five minutes to play in regulation, Curtis hit what seemed like a big three-ball to bring the Knights within five points at 55-50. On the very next possession, however, Powell converted a lay-up to continue his assault on the Knights in the second half and build the lead up to seven points at 57-50. Rivers scored the next five points for the Pioneers, including a three-pointer with 2:09 remaining in the game to put LIU Post up 62-50. Green answered for the Knights with a three-pointer of his own, but Queens was still behind by a 62-53 score with ninety seconds remaining in the game. From there, free throws helped LIU Post keep the Knights at bay.
Hall had 14 points to lead Queens in the loss as Grant scored 11 points; Crosdale added nine points of his own, hitting three three-pointers. Curtis had seven points and nine rebounds as Green collected eight and six, respectively. The Knights shot 38.5% (20-52) from the field and 36.4% (8-22) from three-point range but were undone by a poor free throw shooting performance (10-20, 50%) and a minus-12 rebounding margin (42-30).
Rivers had a game-high 22 points for LIU Post in the victory and Jenkins added 17 points as the two dominated much of the contest. The story for the Pioneers in the win, however, was the performances of Powell and Bibens. Powell was a perfect 4-for-4 from the field in 14 minutes of play and finished the game with 12 points; Bibens, meanwhile, added 12 points and 14 rebounds as the Knights had no response for his crashing the low blocks. As a team, LIU Post shot 42% (25-59) from the field and hit 11 three-pointers in 31 tries for a 35.5% clip from beyond the arc.
The Queens College men's basketball team will return to the hardwood on Wednesday (Jan. 10) when the Knights host Mercy College at 7:30 p.m. at Fitzgerald Gymnasium.