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A historic night for Queens, Wierzbicki

Bradd Wierzbicki hit the number Saturday night, but it had nothing to do with Mega Millions or Powerball.

The Queens College junior guard scored the 1,000th point of his career in the Knights' 73-61 win over St. Thomas Aquinas at Fitzgerald Gymnasium.

Wierzbicki, who reached the milestone on a three-point play 6:04 into the second half, scored a game-high 20 points for Queens, which achieved an impressive number of its own. The Knights won their 20th game -- the most regular season wins in program history for Queens (20-5, 16-2).

"It means a lot to me because of how far I've come from my freshman year, even out of high school," Wierzbicki said. "I'm very happy and I'm even more happy we got the win."

Last year, the Knights reached the 20-win plateau in the NYCAC quarterfinals before going on to win the conference tournament and advance to the NCAA tournament for the third time in five years.

Wierzbicki became the 21st player in program history to score 1,000 points and joins teammate Shaun Bertin, who reached the milestone earlier in the year. He is third in the nation in scoring, averaging 24.8 points per game.

"He has become a great player, his game has become so much better because he's just worked real hard at it," Queens College coach Kyrk Peponakis said. "I guess as a coach, you always look at it as a work in progress, but if you would have told me that he would get his 1,000th point with two games left this year, I would have been shocked."

"He's been consistent all year, he hasn't fallen off at all," he added. "The second time around he's putting up numbers. I'm very, very happy to have him at Queens."

Added Bertin: "Bradd worked hard during the season and it's a tribute to him. I'm just proud of him, I know he worked hard. I've seen him do it."

But both players want to continue to make their mark on the school record books this year. Baring a colossal collapse, these Knights should break the record for most wins (22, set by last year's team), have an outside shot at the NYCAC regular season title and, most importantly, can win the first NCAA tournament game in program history.

"Our goal is still to win an NCAA [tournament] game," Bertin said. "We haven't done that in three trips there and that's something I feel we can do this year."

But before that, Queens has to get through a brutal run of games to end the regular season. Thus far, the Knights are 3-0 in their stretch of five games in eight days, a schedule that would have some in the NBA complaining.

"I'm tired, my legs hurt, I'm sick, I'm getting over a cold," Bertin said. "It's just rough."

Bertin had 19 points and five rebounds, Lance Hazel had 11 points and Clyde Chapman added 10 points and nine rebounds for Queens, which held a 44-30 edge on the glass and despite a sluggish performance, was never truly in danger in the second half.

Ahmed Allen had 16 points and Chris Butler added 14 for St. Thomas Aquinas, which fell to 12-13, 8-10 in the NYCAC.

Next up is Molloy College Monday night in Rockville Centre and Wierzbicki will have a chance at another impressive number - 611, as in the record set last year by John Sikiric for points scored in a single season. He is 16 points shy.

"I called Johnny the other day, to see how he was doing," Wierzbicki said of Sikiric, who is playing professionally in Macedonia. "I told him I have good news and bad news. The good news is, the media guide came out and the bad news is you might only be [on top of the single-season scoring list] for one season."

Reach Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

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