"I'm not stopping until I achieve and whether you can believe you can or not, I believe it is still my duty to show you it's possible cause all we need is an opportunity."
- Patrick Parker ('14), former Queens College men's basketball player
FLUSHING, NY – Isolated on the left elbow in the game's waning moments, Tyree White called for the ball and received it with his back to the basket. One dribble, and then another led to his slight stumble with the added coverage coming in around him. He rose up and squared toward the basket before drilling the difficult game-winner with only two seconds remaining. The Fitzgerald crowd surrounding him thrown into an absolute frenzy.
White's shot lifted Queens College men's basketball to a frenetic, come-from-behind 72-70 victory over NYIT to cap Saturday's "Play 4 Pat" doubleheader. White led the team with a game-high 23 points, including the four he made in the game's final twenty seconds. If not for the magic of junior Simon Green, though, who assisted on White's game-tying basket and came up with the crucial steal to set up the game-winner, the Knights would be looking at a very different result.
In truth, White's last-second shot was only the exclamation mark on a string of sensational plays Queens College had down the stretch of Saturday's game. There was Green's clairvoyant steal with twelve seconds remaining when the Bears were careless inbounding the ball, which set up the final possession. There was Green again weaving into the lane the play before and wrapping around a pass to White that tied the game at 70 with eighteen ticks to go. And there was Green's own penetrating lay-in that brought the Knights within two, 70-68, with just over a minute remaining. Queens ended up scoring the game's final eight points, turning a 64-70 deficit into a 72-70 triumph. They held the Bears scoreless after the 4:25 mark, digging deep to overcome what had ballooned to a 12-point NYIT advantage in the opening part of the second half.
Because although the Bears rode the early momentum of their successes at the end of the first half, burying a running three-pointer at the buzzer to go ahead by eight at intermission, the Knights played inspired basketball throughout the game's second act. Queens College thrived through the middle part of the frame, thrilling the Fitzgerald crowd with a 6-0 burst to cut NYIT's lead to four, 59-55, with twelve minutes remaining. The punctuation coming when Green received an outlet from Tyrone Hall coming down with a defensive rebound and lobbed the ball to White extending for a remarkable jam in transition.
The Knights then battled to cut the margin down to one, 63-62, after Kyheim Chaplin buried a three-pointer off a baseline curl with just under seven minutes to go. Senior Marquis Roberts buried a dribble-up jumper the next possession down to give Queens their first lead of the game, 64-63 before NYIT retaliated with their own 7-0 run to make it 70-64 with 4:25 remaining. The burst stalled Queens' earlier momentum, and if not for the Bears tightening down the stretch and going scoreless from that point on, might have proved the difference. The Knights capitalized on the opportunity to steal one, though, and carried out the game's final eight points to emerge triumphantly.
The game's hysterics were fitting of the occasion. Queens College opened the second half of Saturday's "Play 4 Pat" double-header with an on-court ceremony for former-Knight Patrick Parker ('14) who passed away in 2016 at the age of 25. Family, friends, and Parker's fiancé and young daughter all joined his mother, Juliette Jones, at center court in reverence for her son and his incredible achievements at Queens College. Seniors Diego Maldonado and Chaplin, who were both Parker's teammates, and head coach Matt Collier joined the group and presented the "Patrick Parker" award to a teary-eyed Jones. Jones was then welcomed to the Knights' bench as the team's commemorative captain and rode the tide of emotion that came with their momentous win.
The win pushes the Knights to 6-4 in East Coast Conference action, and 9-8 for the season. Maldonado, playing with a heavy heart remembering his friend and former teammate, added 10 points as the Knights' only other scorer in double-figures. Green, the orchestrator of the Knights' late-game heroics, had five points off the bench to go with four rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Big man Jon Feiler led the Bears with 16 points and 12 rebounds, who fell to 4-6 in the ECC and 6-12 overall following the loss.
Men's basketball goes for three wins in a row on Wednesday, January 25, when they travel on the road to take on Mercy in conference action. Game time from Westchester Community College is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.