NYACK, N.Y. (Feb. 21, 2018) – A big first half keyed the Queens College men's basketball team to an emphatic 86-76 victory over Mercy on Wednesday (Feb. 21) at Bowman Gymnasium in Nyack.
The Knights' win keeps QC alive in the playoff chase and puts them in the driver's seat for the sixth position. All Queens needs is either a win over top-seed Bridgeport on Saturday (Feb. 24) or a Molloy loss to Mercy to clinch at least the six-seed in the upcoming ECC Tournament.
Queens (9-15, 7-10 ECC) jumped out to an early 9-2 lead on Mercy (10-18, 5-12 ECC) as Elijah Bovell opened the game with the Knights' first five points in 100 seconds of action. Simon Green scored four points in a row to get QC ahead by seven points with four minutes played in the first half. The Knights watched as the Mavericks battled back to a 15-11 deficit before Kevin Buron and Jordan Curtis hit back-to-back three-pointers and gave the visitors a 21-11 lead with 12:30 left to play in the half. Again, the Mavs continued to battle back into the fray as a three-ball by Kelvin Howard got his side within a 27-24 deficit with eight minutes left in the half. QC, however, refused to be denied as the Knights ran off a 13-6 spurt to grab a 40-30 lead with three minutes remaining. The lead would be 48-37 in favor of Queens going into the halftime break as Tyrese Crosdale had a team-high 11 points for the Knights.
In the second half, Sal Barbetto scored six straight for Mercy to bring his side within a seven-point margin at 51-44 but Green knocked down a three to give QC another double-digit lead. The Knights would build the lead up to a 16-point margin after a Curtis three put Queens ahead 63-47 with 11:30 to play in regulation. A 6-0 run by Bryan Griffin brought Mercy back to life and a three from Chris Myers with less than nine minutes remaining had the Mavericks down 65-56 as the hosts slowly began to chip away at the lead. Free throws from Griffin and DeQuawne Richards got Mercy within a 67-62 deficit with 6:21 to play in regulation. Dwayne Henry made a huge lay-up and free throw with four-and-a-half minutes to play as the Knights regained an eight-point lead at 72-64 but a Griffin dunk brought the Mavs back within six mere seconds later. Queens upped its lead back to double digits after free throws from Tyrone Hall and a jumper by Bovell with under three minutes left in regulation and the Knights stayed on cruise control from there.
Hall had a game-high 22 points with six rebounds; the senior guard went 4-for-7 from the three-point line and hit all six of his free throw attempts. Green added 16 points with three assist and two steals and Buron and Crosdale each poured in 11 points. Buron added ten rebounds and a team-high three blocks as well. The Knights shot an impressive 48% (29-60) from the floor and hit 13 three-pointers in the win.
Leading Mercy was Marko Kozul, as the forward had an 18-point evening. Kozul was one of six Mavericks in double-figures: Howard (12 & eight rebounds), Barbetto (12), Griffin (11 and four rebounds), Richards (11 and six rebounds) and Myers (10 & 10 assists). Mercy was eliminated from playoff contention with the loss to the Knights.