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Johnny B Good: Sikiric paces Queens over Molloy

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The four-year starter on the Queens College men's basketball team scored 26 of his game-high 31 points in the second half to lead the Knights to a 98-85 win over Molloy in his final regular season game at Fitzgerald Gymnasium Saturday night."At times he's unbelievable," Chapman said. "He's definitely the best shooter I've ever seen and probably the best player that I've ever played with."Strong accolades, indeed, since Chapman played on the same high school team as Pittsburgh's Chris Taft, who is a possible NBA draft pick this year.Sikiric, who was honored before the game and joined on the court by his parents, scored just 5 points while struggling in the first half. But, in front of a large home crowd including his brother Steve and several former players, Sikiric came out in the second half and was unstoppable.He scored 15 points during a 26-5 run that saw Queens (19-6, 17-5 NYCAC) turn a 66-60 deficit into an 86-71 lead with 4:56 left in the second half.The 6-foot-5 forward from Maspeth, who is seventh all-time in scoring with 1,545 points despite missing 21 games as a sophomore with a torn ACL, was 11-of-22 from the field and 6-of-10 from 3-point range."I tell myself it's supposed to happen like this," Sikiric said. "I spent too many hours in the gym for it not to happen. I just go with it and hopefully it takes me through the rest of the season."It's not the first time he had an offensive explosion in the second half - Sikiric scored all 32 of his points in the second half of a win at New York Tech. As a freshman, the former Archbishop Molloy standout had a career-high 36 points at Molloy College."I might go to the graduation just to make sure he doesn't come back," Molloy coach Charlie Marquardt said. "I might give (the diploma) to him."Early on, it appeared Molloy's Andwele Murray would ruin Sikiric's night. He scored 21 of his team-high 25 points on 5-of-7 shooting from 3-point range and Molloy (7-18, 6-16) opened up an early 21-9 lead and was up 44-39 at the half.Moises Garcia picked up where Murray left off in the first half by scoring 13 of his 19 points in the second half and the Lions still led 66-60 with 11:37 left.But Sikiric came right back with a 3-point play and, after a putback by Kenald Bernard, Anthony Mauceri (15 points, 5 assists, 4 steals) sank a pair of free throws to give the Knights their first lead of the game, 67-66."I think the thing with him is not now, but in a year from now or when next year starts you're going to say, 'wow, we miss him," Queens coach Kyrk Peponakis said of Sikiric.Queens was able to put the game away midway through the second half by being more aggressive on the glass and by creating turnovers from its full-court press. And by a very special second half by a very special player."I thought we played hard tonight," Marquardt said. "I thought we worked and I thought we hit enough shots to compete but he just took the game."Fortunately for Sikiric, Saturday's game won't be his last at Fitzgerald Gymnasium. Queens, which tied a program record with its 19th win - its fourth straight - will host a first round NYCAC tournament game March 2."We've got a lot of goals and aspirations as a team, we want to win 20 games, we want to win the NYCAC championship and we definitely want to go to the NCAA tournament," said Chapman, who had 17 points and 13 rebounds. "Hosting that home game in the playoffs will be big because we play real well here."Philadelphia University 78, Queens College 68. Sikiric scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half, Lance Hazel had 14 points and Chapman added 12 for the Knights Monday night at Bucky Harris Gymnasium in Philadelphia. It was the last regular season meeting between the two teams with Philadelphia moving to Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference next year.Reach Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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