Queens Knights fall to Molloy College, 68-61

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They used adjectives such as “lethargic” and “lackadaisi­cal” to describe their play in the first half.

But the players on the Queens College men’s basketball team don’t know why they came out sluggish en route to a 68-61 loss to Molloy College Saturday night at Fitzgerald Gymnasium.

In the final of a stretch of four games in six days, the Knights played listless basketball after the biggest win of the year — a 71-69 victory over rival Adelphi last Thursday that snapped a 15-game winless streak against the NYCAC powerhouse.

“They played harder than us,” said Queens College coach Kyrk Peponakis. “They played like it was very, very important and we never do that.”

Queens (6-5, 5-3), which entered the game tied for second in the NYCAC standings with Bridgeport, fell behind, 38-24, in the first half before staging a late rally to get within one, 61-60, on John Sikiric’s lone field goal of the game (a three-pointer with 1:51 left in the second half).

“That’s pretty much what we’ve been doing all year, coming up with a big win and seems like we get lackadaisical and lose it,” Sikiric said.

The Knights had a chance to take the lead but Sikiric was stripped by Paul Cordasco with 1:03 left. Michael Mooney put the game away for surging Molloy (5-7, 5-4) with a clutch three-pointer with 32 seconds left in the game to put the Lions ahead, 64-60.

“I knew they were going to look at Cordasco and Ozzie (Oyagha) because they were hitting their threes all night, so I knew I was going to get it. I just didn’t know when or where I was going to get it,” said Mooney, who connected on his lone three-point attempt. “The ball came to me and I just let it go and it went right in. Better late than never.”

Said Queens College guard Gary DeBerry: “We were fine until (Mooney) hit that big three in the corner. Once he hit that, that type of a shot drains so much out of a team emotionally.”

Cordasco (10 points, seven rebounds) and Josh Dinerman each sunk a pair of free throws in the final 21.4 seconds to snap Queens’ modest two-game winning streak.

“This has been coming. What we did a better job of is we played better for longer,” said Molloy coach Charlie Marquardt. “I thought our team ‘D’ was very good.”

Molloy led early, falling behind for the last time midway through the first half on a baseline jumper by DeBerry (game-high 19 points). But the Lions scored 10 of the next 12 points to take a 24-18 lead.

On a three-pointer by Moises Garcia, who scored a team-high 15 points, Molloy capped a 12-2 run to take a 38-24 lead with 1:07 left in the first half.

“Once we got that deep it was too hard to come out of that hole,” said Shaun Bertin, who had 14 points and 12 rebounds. “We don’t do what we’re capable of doing. We know we’re capable of playing 40 minutes, but we just don’t go out there and do it.”

After playing at New York Tech in a game scheduled for Wednesday night, Queens hosts C.W. Post Saturday and then heads to Adelphi Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

Queens College 71, Adelphi 69. Sikiric returned from a right knee injury suffered in the first half to score a game-high 20 points, including a three-pointer with 9:20 left that gave Queens its first lead of the game last Thursday at Fitzgerald Gymnasium.

DeBerry added 17 points and eight assists and Bradd Wierzbicki added eight points off the bench, including key free throws down the stretch.

Ben Kenyon led four players in double-figure scoring with a career-high 18 points for Adelphi (5-4, 3-3), which last lost to Queens College in 1997.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

Updated 10:26 am, October 12, 2011
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