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Queens holds off Philadelphia with late run

The Knights answered that question with two resounding wins, including a very impressive 89-83 victory over Philadelphia University Monday at Fitzgerald Gymnasium.

"In this league, it's a war every night," Peponakis said. "Anyone can beat anyone any night. The theme stays. I'm just so happy for our kids because they put up with me. They played so well."

What had Peponakis even more pleased was the way his team played against, "pound-for-pound, the most talented team in the league."

Offensively, Queens (7-6, 5-4) fired on all cylinders. For the first time all season, the Knights were able to consistently dribble penetrate and kick it out for several open three-pointers. Led by junior point guard Phil Lyons, who was 3-for-4 from downtown and scored 18 points, the Knights lit it up from beyond the arc, shooting 61.5 percent for the game.

"In the first half, I got a couple of good looks," said Lyons, who also had four assists and three rebounds before fouling out in the final minute of the game. "In the second half, they cleared out and I got to the basket. But I feel better about getting it to Dave Trani or Steve Sikiric to hit threes."

Philadelphia (8-3, 7-2) didn't shy away from the long-range shot either. Senior sharpshooter Ryan Presson led the charge from beyond the arc, netting four of the Rams 12 three-point goals on 27 attempts.

Tai Crutchfield, who is fifth in the NYCAC in scoring, averaging 18.9 points per game, is another player who loves to shoot the three. But, despite giving up three inches and about 40 pounds, Queens senior Steve Sikiric did a great job to bottle up the explosive senior swingman, who was limited to just 12 points and was 2-of-5 from downtown.

"I don't know if [Crutchfield] was 100 percent, but he shot it OK," Peponakis said. "Steve does a good job, he's been covering him for two years now. Our defense was good but every time they popped out, someone hit an open shot."

Leading 41-37 heading into the second half, Queens extended its edge to 48-43 on Sikiric's runner in the lane. But the pesky Rams came right back and, after a thunderous Jordanesque dunk by Anthony Jefferson, Jim Reeves stole the ball at half court and scored an uncontested layup to cut the Knights lead to 48-47.

Every mini-run by Queens was answered by Philadelphia. The Knights went ahead 60-53 on a Trani three, but the Rams came back to make it two-point game, 63-61, on a three by Abdul Collier.

But that's when the Knights took a stranglehold on the game, going on an 18-5 run over the next seven and a half minutes to take a commanding 81-68 lead with 56 seconds left. Presson did his best, nailing three three-pointers in the final 29 seconds, but it was not enough, as Queens went 6-for-8 from the line during the same stretch to snap Philadelphia's five-game winning streak.

"I think now everybody's starting to put it together," said Queens freshman forward Anthony Washington, who had 18 points and four rebounds. "The team spirit is up a lot and our confidence in our play is starting to show."

Sikiric also scored 18 points, DeBerry chipped in with 14 points and Trani netted 13 points for Queens, who head to Dowling Saturday before returning home for Concordia Monday night.

Queens 62, Dowling 49. Will Hooks had 14 points and 11 rebounds and DeBerry added 13 points for the Knights Saturday.

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