VALHALLA, N.Y. – Senior Tyree White led four scorers in double figures with 21 points, 13 of which came in the second half, as Queens College men's basketball battled back from a halftime deficit to overcome Mercy College, 89-82, in conference action on Wednesday night.
White stormed the glass for 14 rebounds to record his ninth double-double of the season. Senior wing Malcolm Moore was just as impressive, scoring 18 points on a perfect 7-of-7 shooting performance from the field and adding six assists to lead the team. Seniors Kyheim Chaplin and Diego Maldonado were the other Knights' scorers in double figures with 17 and 13 points, respectively. White, Moore and Chaplin combined for 37 points in the second half, providing the fuel for Queens to rally back for their third consecutive win.
Emerging out of halftime down seven, Queens College streaked on a 12-1 run to rise to a three-point lead, 48-45, and wrestle control of the game's momentum. Moore had five points during the stretch, the highlight of which came on his burst into the lane for a three-point play at the 17:14 mark that put Queens back ahead, 46-45. The Knights never relinquished control of the game from that point on, continuing to lead with exception of the Mavericks leveling the score at 50 on the heels of another jumper by Atkins. Atkins came off Mercy's bench to match the team's lead in scoring with 17 points in 27 minutes.
In putting away the game during the second half, Queens College shot a combined 20-of-30 from the floor with Moore and White each scoring 13 points and Chaplin chipping in another 11. The Knights experienced strong sequences on defense, too, forcing three turnovers during that crucial opening stretch and challenging Mercy's shooters often enough for them to miss their first six attempts from the floor. Even with the Mavericks finding a way to claw within one or two on a few occasions, Queens always had an answer, particularly on the six consecutive offensive trips that began at the 9-minute mark and lasted until only four minutes were remaining in the game. The Knights scored every time down the floor during the span, punctuated by senior Simon Green's seven points and Chaplin's three-pointer to cap it all off to put Queens ahead, 76-68. The Knights then extended their lead to as many as 11 before eventually winning by the final score of 89-82.
The first half opened with five quick points by Maldonado nestled between baskets from White and freshman Kevin Buron, which put Queens College level with the Mavericks, 10-10, at the 15:21 mark in the first half. The Knights then started on a troubling five-minute stretch in which the team turned the ball over five times and only managed one point to fall behind, 11-17, with just over 10 minutes to go in the half. Mercy maintained a similar margin until Queens connected on three consecutive possessions, the latter two were three-pointers by Chaplin and Maldonado to that allowed the Knights to inch within one, 24-25, with six minutes remaining. Maldonado led all scorers with 10 points in the first half, before finishing the game with 13. The score stayed within three, with Queens momentarily taking the lead at one point, until Mercy's Amer Atkins drained a three-pointer to put the Mavericks ahead by four, 34-38. And then another three by Atkins pushed the home team's lead to seven, which held into halftime after both teams traded free throws and made it 37-44.
The win is Queens' third in a row and improves its record to 7-4 in East Coast Conference play and 10-8 overall. Mercy, despite the solid first half, continues to struggle on the season, remaining winless in conference action at 0-11 and falling to 2-17 on the year. Senior Raphael Jennings matched Atkins' output in scoring with 17, and two other Mavericks scored in double figures.
The Knights remain on the road for a chance at their fourth straight, Saturday's conference matchup with second-place District of Columbia down in the nation's capital. Queens College jumped on the Firebirds the first time these two teams met this season and will hope to do so again when action tips off at 3:00 p.m. at Recreation Hall.