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Showing some Mercy: Queens struggles in win

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But Queens looked and sounded more like the losing team rather than the one that remained undefeated in the NYCAC after a lethargic 69-62 win over Mercy College Saturday night at Fitzgerald Gymnasium in Flushing.Queens improved to 9-1, 7-0 in the league and remained in first place in the NYCAC, but struggled to put away its opponent for a third consecutive game. And that's bothersome to Knights coach Kyrk Peponakis."I'm not happy with the effort, with the complacency, the lack of hunger," he said. "We have a tendency to always relax."They did it against Elizabeth City State University and again against Philadelphia University Jan. 5. Against Mercy, Queens had a 16-point edge early in the second half when John Sikiric's 3-pointer on the break put the Knights in front 40-24. But Mercy (3-6, 3-4) went on an 18-5 run to get within 45-41 in a 5:28 span."We've got to put the dagger further in," Queens forward Shaun Bertin said. "If we're up by 15 we have to make it 30. If we're up by 20, we have to make it 40. That's how we have to go out there and play."Queens had another double-digit lead, opening up a 13-point bulge on a Sikiric layup, but again Mercy rallied to within 67-64 on a 3-pointer by Kris Laurenceau, who led the Flyers with 18 points, with 50 seconds left. The Knights needed two free throws by Bradd Wiezbicki, who also had a key 3-point play earlier in the half and finished with 11 points off the bench, to ice the game with 19.9 seconds left."We want to finish the game off and make a statement but in the last couple of games we didn't do that. I don't know what it is," said Sikiric, who had 16 points. "They picked up their intensity a lot and we didn't match it."Three days after an emotionally charged win against a Philadelphia University team that was ranked No.1 in the country in some pre-season publications, Queens raced out and scored the first nine points against Mercy and led by 17, 37-20, on a 3-point play by Bertin, who had 19 points and seven rebounds and had a distinct size advantage in the low post."We gave them a 9-point lead in 1:07 and lose by six so you don't need to go beyond the first minute of the game," Mercy coach Steve Kelly said. "We didn't come out with intensity and in the first half we just hung around. We were on the verge of getting blown out but we just hung around."After hosting Bridgeport Thursday night, Queens is home for New Haven Saturday before taking on New York Tech Tuesday night in Old Westbury.Molloy College 84, Queens College 83. Robert Mostacci's free throw with seven seconds left in regulation lifted Molloy College past Queens Tuesday night at Molloy. Bertin led the Knights with 20 points and 10 rebounds, Sikiric had 18 points, Clyde Chapman had 15, Lance Hazel had 13 and Wierzbicki added 10. Moises Garcia led Molloy (4-7, 3-5 NYCAC) with 22 point and Mostacci chipped in 19.Queens College 79, Philadelphia University 70. Sikiric had 32 points and Bertin and Lance Hazel had 12 points apiece for Queens, which led by as many as 21 in the second half.Reach Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

Updated 10:25 am, October 12, 2011
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