There is nothing complicated or complex about the game plan for the Queens College men's basketball team. Quite simply, the goal is to exact revenge on each team in the New York Collegiate Athletic Conference that beat them the first time around.
The Knights did that last week, beating Southampton, 68-63, at Fitzgerald Gymnasium and again Saturday night on the Flushing campus. This time the victim was C.W. Post, a team that beat Queens, 84-67, on Jan. 5. Led by a career night by sophomore forward William Hooks, the red-hot Knights defeated the Pioneers, 74-60. After a nine-game losing streak, Queens has now won five of its last six games.
"We can't do anything about the first time we play people," Queens College coach Kyrk Peponakis said. "I'm just happy with the way we bounced back. We took care of some business so far and I'm happy about that."
With Dror Gal and Gary DeBerry still out nursing injuries, Queens (9-12, 7-9 NYCAC) entered the game shorthanded again. And without Kenny Parker, who was ruled academically ineligible last week, the Knights also lacked some size down low against a team that dominated the paint in the first meeting between the two teams. Post's 6-foot-5 junior forward John Harvey abused Queens for 18 points, most on dunks in the Pioneers' 17-point victory.
Taking Parker's spot in the low post was Hooks, a 6-foot-5 forward from Elmont, L.I., who averaged six points per game coming into the game. All season, Peponakis has been on Hooks in practice because the coach feels the big man doesn't perform up to his potential.
That potential was realized Saturday night. Known for his explosive alley-oop dunks, Hooks showed a variety of post moves in what was undoubtedly his best collegiate game to date. Hooks also showed some range, knocking down foul line jumpers as he scored a career-high 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds in 31 minutes.
"He's worked very hard," Peponakis said. "I'm very happy for him because he's shown me a lot. I kill him every day in practice because his upside is so wonderful. He was great tonight, he made moves in the posts, he made layups, me made dunks, he made jumpers and passes."
Hooks, along with 6-foot-8 sophomore center Jurrell Bonaparte and 6-foot-7 freshman Alex McLean, combined for 21 rebounds as Queens beat Post on the boards, 35-28. They also did a great job defensively on Harvey, holding the junior from the Bronx to just one field goal.
"I'm very proud of our up front guys," Peponakis said. "They just compete. John Harvey is a guy who killed us and he had two points tonight."
C.W. Post (6-15, 5-12) jumped out to a 13-8 lead on a layup by senior forward Kyle Guerrant (14 points) with 12:34 left in the first half. The Knights fought back to take the lead, 23-21, on a three from the right side by freshman Dave Trani (13 points), who was named NYCAC rookie of the week, with 6:44 left in the first half. Queens would never trail again.
Post tied the score at 25 on two free throws by sophomore forward John Heitner with 3:09 left in the half, but Queens scored the final six points of the first half and the first six points of the second half - five by Hooks -
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