FLUSHING, N.Y. (Jan. 3, 2018) – The Queens College men's basketball team found itself in an early hole in the first half of its contest with NYIT Wednesday night (Jan. 3) in Flushing. However, be it by will or sheer determination, the Knights were able to outlast the Bears in an 86-82 double-overtime thriller at Fitzgerald Gymnasium.
Early in the first half, Queens (4-6, 2-1 ECC) struggled to keep the ball as the Knights went down 11-2 in the game's first five minutes of play. A combination of turnovers plus a stellar start from Kieran Hamilton gave NYIT (2-12, 0-4 ECC) a consistent tempo to work with, as the Bears led by a 24-7 margin with under seven minutes remaining in the opening frame. Following a full line change, however, the Knights began to chip away at the deficit. Simon Green hit a jumper which was followed by a Jelani Williams long-distance call to get QC over ten points and jump start a 10-0 spurt that brought the Knights back to within seven points at 26-19. Following an Isaac Grant lay-in, Jordan Curtis knocked down a three-ball as QC creeped closer with the game standing at 28-24 with over 90 seconds remaining. NYIT continued to hold serve, with Jeffrey Hayden putting back a second-chance effort to give the visitors a 33-26 advantage going into the halftime break.
The Bears opened the second half on fire, extending their lead to 14 points at 45-31 on a Kieran Hamilton three-pointer with six minutes gone by in the frame. Queens, however, would not go away quietly as a 9-0 run punctuated by a three-pointer from Elijah Bovell brought the Knights to within a 45-40 score midway through the second half. QC would get as close as three points several times over the next few minutes but NYIT continued to have an answer. The Bears would lead by eight points at 61-53 with four minutes to play in regulation before the hosts rallied back to form. A three-pointer by Tyrese Crosdale with 1:15 remaining had the Knights down 62-60; NYIT was unable to score on their next offensive possession and Queens would be successful as Isaac Grant secured an offensive rebound and a tip-in to tie the score at 62 with twenty seconds remaining. Grant was fouled but could not knock down the shot from the charity stripe and subsequent attempts to win the game in regulation went awry for both teams.
NYIT opened the first overtime period with a quick three-pointer from Hamilton but Queens quickly went in front on seven straight points by Hall. The 69-66 lead for the Knights did not last thanks to a three from Hayden but a lay-in by Grant and a free throw from Grant had the Knights ahead by three points; NYIT answered though as Hayden scored again, this time putting the Bears up 73-72. Dwayne Henry knocked down a three-pointer that sent the fans into a frenzy with 49 seconds left in the overtime period, but Tyler Ancrum answered with a lay-in to tie the score again. The Bears had a chance at the buzzer but a putback attempt by Szu Yao Sun missed the mark as the horn sounded.
In the second overtime, foul trouble proved to be insurmountable for the Bears as five players---including three starters---all fouled out of the contest despite NYIT scoring the first three points of the period. The Knights rallied to tie the score at 79-all before five free throws from Curtis (three) and Green (two) put the game away officially. The Bears fell behind 84-79 and were unable to make a comeback as Queens earned the hard-fought victory.
Grant had 21 points in the win, hitting all eight of his field goals, and Curtis put forth a herculean double-double (12 points, 16 rebounds) for the Knights. Green added 15 points and five assists and Hall added 12 points and seven boards. Hamilton had a game-high 22 for NYIT and Hayden added 21 in the losing effort.
The Queens College men's basketball team will hit the road for a Saturday (Jan. 6) afternoon showcase at LIU Post in Brookville. Tip-off is set for 3:30 p.m.