The extra work paid dividends in a big way Saturday night, as DeBerry scored a career-high 23 points and Trani netted seven straight points to ignite a 19-2 run en route to the Knights 90-76 win over Southampton Saturday at Fitzgerald Gymnasium.
"My shot felt real good tonight," DeBerry said. "What sparked me though was watching Dave. It's usually like that with all of us. We all look to each other and get enthusiasm off everyone else's energy."
The Knights wanted to get off on a good foot against the Colonials, but instead fell behind early, 18-8, when Billy Mandell nailed a three-pointer from the top of the key with 10:13 left in the first half.
But that's when Trani went to work. First the sophomore forward nailed a three from the left wing, then hit an 8-footer and stole the ball and scored on a layup to cut Southampton's lead to 18-15, forcing Colonials head coach Charlie Peck to call a timeout.
Queens (4-1, 2-1 New York Collegiate Athletic Conference) wasn't done there. Freshman guard Carnell Campbell also had a steal and a layup and DeBerry connected from downtown. Following a tip in by Southampton junior Jason Lewis, the Knights scored seven straight points, capped by another DeBerry trifecta to take a 27-20 lead with 6:30 left in the half.
"We didn't come out great, so I was proud of that spurt," said Queens College head coach Kyrk Peponakis. "Our defense got us some things and our offense struggled a bit, but when we needed to hit shots, we did."
After heading into the break up by 10, Queens saw its lead fall to three, 46-43, on Chris Taylor's baseline floater with 12:11 left. But then DeBerry nailed a three from the right wing while getting fouled by Rafael Diaz. The St. Albans native's free throw put Queens ahead, 50-43.
Southampton (0-4, 0-2) came back again and, on Kindel Oxilus' left wing trifecta, trailed by just two, 69-67, with 4:43 remaining in the second half. But the Knights answered again, going on an 13-2 run, capped by two Anthony Washington free throws to go up 82-69 with 43 seconds left and put the game away.
"We just try and push each other hard, even in practice," said Washington, who had 14 points and six rebounds. "If [Will] Hooks is doing it on offense, I try and step up my defense. The whole team is close. It helps."
The Knights once again had a balanced scoring attack, as DeBerry and Washington led four players to score in double figures. Sophomore forward Mike Leonce had 12 points and six rebounds and Hooks added 10 points and six boards. Jason Lewis led Southampton with 26 points and eight rebounds.
After playing at New York Tech Wednesday night, the Knights return to the court to take on Bridgeport, a new NYCAC member, Saturday at 8 p.m.
Concordia 77, Queens 60. Campbell came off the bench to score a team-high 13 points and preseason All-NYCAC second-team selection Steve Sikiric also had seven points and eight rebounds in Queens' first loss of the year.
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