SPARKILL, N.Y. (Jan. 30, 2018) – The Queens College men's basketball team cut a 15-point first-half deficit to as little as seven points in the second half but the Knights could not overcome the brunt of the margin, falling to Saint Thomas Aquinas on Tuesday (Jan. 30) by a score of 70-58 at Aquinas Hall.
After James Mitchell knocked down a jumper to score the first points of the game, Shaquille McFarlan hit back-to-back lay-ups with a free throw in between to give Saint Thomas Aquinas (19-4, 10-1 ECC) a 7-0 lead in the game's first two-and-a-half minutes. Jordan Curtis answered with a second-chance lay-up for Queens (5-13, 3-8 ECC) and the Knights ran off a 12-3 run with the junior forward hitting a three-pointer to give QC a 12-10 lead seven minutes into the contest. Unfortunately, the pendulum swung back in favor of STAC as the Spartans sprinted in front with a 13-0 rally of their own. McFarlan had four points in the fury as did Irwayne Connell, Jr. and the Spartans led 23-12 with just under nine minutes to play in the half. The Knights played catch-up most of the way as Keenan Gorski hit a fast-break lay-up to cut the hosts' lead to seven points at 24-17 until Justin Reyes began to take over the game. With the score favoring STAC 30-22 as the clock ticked under four minutes remaining in the half, Reyes converted a lay-up on a second-chance effort. The seemingly innocuous bucket was a significant moment for the reigning ECC Player of the Week as it gave the red-shirt senior forward for the Spartans the all-time conference record for most points scored in a career. STAC ended the first half leading 43-28 on a jumper by Kameron Murrell.
Tyrone Hall hit a three-pointer to open the scoring in the second half with just under two minutes gone by and the Knights were within nine points after a Curtis three-pointer made the score 50-41 in favor of STAC. The Knights closed the gap to within seven points after an Elijah Bovell three-point play and a Terrell Williams lay-up got Queens within a 58-51 score-line as the clock wound under eight minutes to play in the half. Following a three-point play by Reyes, Bovell knocked down a three-ball to once again cut the Spartans' edge to seven points at 61-54. STAC collected the next five points before Curtis thundered home a dunk and Issac Grant hit a lay-up, bringing the Knights back to a 66-58 deficit with three minutes to play. Queens would not get closer than that, however, as the Spartans wound the clock down to the eventual victory.
Bovell led all scorers with 19 points, hitting 8-of-17 from the floor and corralling seven rebounds to pace the Knights in the effort. Curtis added 12 points with four rebounds and two steals as well. Grant had nine points and five boards with Hall chipping in seven points and five rebounds.
The Spartans were led by a 17-point showing from Mitchell with Reyes added 14 points and eight rebounds. McFarlan poured in 16 points, doing most of his damage in the first half as the shooting numbers ended up fairly even with both teams shooting 44% from the floor.
Queens College will host Molloy College on Saturday (Feb. 3) in a pivotal East Coast Conference match-up at Fitzgerald Gymnasium with tip-off set for 3:30 p.m.