With Queens College trying to break a nine-game losing streak, it couldn't have faced a better opponent to snap the slide on Saturday night at home. Concordia College, also a struggling team, had yet to win a game this season. Concordia remains winless after Queens (4-11, 3-8 NYCAC) broke its own losing streak with a 92-73 win at Fitzgerald Gymnasium.
"We really needed this game," said sophomore point guard Philip Lyons, who scored 13 points. "We were getting frustrated. Everyone was in a slump. It was the worst. After being down by 20 at the half against Dowling in our last game and coming back to take a lead and lose again, we wanted to go straight to this game."
"I thought it was a good performance," head coach Kyrk Peponakis said. "It's hard when you are losing. You're always looking over your shoulder wondering if you are going to mess up again."
Lyons and the Knights came out with a lot of energy, jumping out to a 16-0 lead in the first five minutes of the game. The sophomore from Bishop Loughlin opened the scoring by forcing a steal and going coast-to-coast for a layup. During the run he also buried two three-pointers. St. Albans native Gary DeBerry capped the run with a jumper.
The Knights came out playing aggressive defense, taking charges, forcing turnovers, and crashing the boards. Many of Concordia's 29 turnovers were forced by the pressing defense. On the offensive side Queens was getting open looks at the basket.
"We got out of the gate well," Peponakis said. "The energy was good. We need to keep making plays like we did tonight."
William Hooks (11 points, eight rebounds) slammed down a three-point miss with 3:07 remaining in the first half to put Queens up, 37-24. Concordia went on an 8-0 run and made it a five-point deficit. All of the sudden, Queens was turning over the ball and Concordia was getting the good looks at the basket. Pete Hansen connected on two consecutive jumpers and Dan Hennessy capped the run with a turn-around jumper in the paint with under a minute remaining.
With one second left, Will Cave was left alone under the basket and scored for Concordia. Queens led for most of the first half by 15 points, but a 12-3 run by Concordia in the last four minutes made it 38-35 at the half.
"We pressed so much that we got tired," Lyons said. "We started making stupid mistakes. It was more from fatigue."
"We wanted to pressure the ball and see what happed," Peponakis said. "We had success and got off to a great start."
Queens Village native Kenny Parker opened the second half for Queens by scoring five points that ignited a 16-4 run. Parker, a senior forward, had a strong game with 17 points on 8-for-13 shooting from the field. He was a strong presence on the glass, grabbing 12 rebounds. He also had four steals.
Queens sizzled from three-point range especially during the second half (6-for-9). For the game Queens shot 52 percent (10-of-19) from beyond the arc. Conversely, Concordia shot 31 percent (7-for-22).
Dror Gal (15 points) started to get it going when he buried a wide-open three off a feed from Lyons for a 46-37 lead. Dave Trani (14 points) put Queens up by 15 with a three right in front of the Queens bench. Two possessions later, he connected on another three and Peter Banta continued the hot shooting for Queens when he drilled a three from the top of the key.
With the lead cut to 11 points and under seven minutes left, Gal sparked an 8-0 run when his long attempt from way beyond the three-point line went in as the shot clock expired. This shot typified the way things went for Queens on this night. On the next possession Lyons drove to the lane and kicked it out to Gal for another three. Parker then scored on a reverse layup to put Queens ahead, 80-61.
"We hit open shots, which we haven't been doing," Peponakis said. "Trani hit his. Gal hit a deep one and we made some plays. Parker and Hooks did the job on the glass and Lyons broke guys down. I'm happy we won, but I know we got to play better to win again."
Hansen led Concordia with 21 points and eight rebounds and Jeff Harper scored 14.
During the losing streak, Queens lost some close games to some of the top teams in the conference. Against first-place Adelphi they lost by three points. They also lost to Philadelphia University by six, Molloy by five, and Dowling by three.
After playing at New York Tech on Wednesday night, a team they defeated 75-74 early in the season, Queens will play New Jersey Tech away
Queens 70 Concordia 62. Freshman Kathy Koutroulos, from Long Island City High School, sparked Queens (6-10, 4-8 NYCAC) to a 37-27 halftime lead by scoring eight points late in the half.
"We weren't playing as good as we could have," Koutroulos said. "It pumped us up. It feels good. Anything I can do to help the team feels great."
Kiki Dunston was on top of her game, going 8-for-11 from the field for 16 points with eight rebounds and two blocks before fouling out. Elena Rakova scored 12 points and had eight rebounds and Alanna Legall scored 10 points. The Lady Knights shot 53 percent, while Concordia shot only 29 percent. Jennifer Batchelor led the way for Concordia with 27 points and 14 rebounds.
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