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Knight Moves: An inside look at no-frills college hoops in Queens

Coaches love to refer to a season, in any sport, as "a marathon, not a sprint." Sometimes, though, it's both. That's the case for the Queens College men's basketball team, whose East Coast Conference schedule kicks into full gear this week. The Knights will play five games in the next 10 days, all but one against divisional foes. It's a far cry from the end of December, when Queens played just one game in the final two weeks of the year.For veterans like Bradd Wierzbicki, Lance Hazel and Hassan Washington, it's just another crazy January packed with games. But for the younger players, for freshmen like Greg Tull and Khaleel Allicott and Gerald Eugene, it's a crash course in Division II college basketball."They've got to get used to stuff like that, because once we get into the league games, it's going to be one night off and another game," Hazel said. "This was a good test for us."To prepare for the sprint of the next two weeks, Queens coach Kyrk Peponakis had his team play on back-to-back days in the Jim Clancy Memorial Classic at Dominican College in Orangeburg, N.Y., last week. It was the first time his team had to do that, and after so much time away from the court, it was a sort of boot camp for the Knights.It was mixed results for Peponakis. Although Queens won both games, beating Bloomfield, 87-69, on Jan. 3 and host Dominican, 59-54, a night later, his team was sluggish and struggled from the perimeter against Dominican. "I thought we had no legs at all today," Peponakis said after the game. "Back-to-back is hard for us with eight guys. But listen, there's no one coming [to help] so suck it up and play.' This isn't the first week. This is 10 games in and it's January. The grind is going to start now."Reach Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

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