Knights Out of First Place, But Beat Molloy
By Matthew Starr and Ari Goldstein

Junior forward Kenald Bernard slams a resounding dunk against Molloy on Tuesday night, bringing the Knights within three points just before the half.

The Queens College Knights continued to dominate at home, although they’re still having trouble away from FitzGerald Gymnasium, as they dropped to second place in the New York Collegiate Athletic Conference last
week.

On Tuesday night, the Knights took on Molloy College at home, and made them wish they’d stayed home.
Although the Knights fell behind 30-21 with about six minutes left in the first half, they cut the deficit to three,
32-29, at halftime.

Whatever Coach Kyrk Peponakis told the team at the break paid immediate dividends. About five minutes
into the second half, the Knights went on a 16-0 run, highlighted by a Marvin Lawrence dunk. Molloy Coach
Charles Marquardt was so upset with the officiating that he called it “ridiculous,” but that didn’t change the fact
that his team trailed 56-43 with 13 minutes left. The lead was not entirely safe as Molloy pulled to within two,
73-71, on a driving lay-up by forward Vincent Falzone, who also grabbed a career-high 18 rebounds.

But Hassan Washington (16 points) hit four clutch free throws down the stretch, and Coach Peponakis’
defensive substitution of Anthony Mauceri for Bradd Wierzbicki (16 points) paid off, when Mauceri stole the ball
from Molloy point guard Mike Mooney with 11 seconds remaining to seal the victory. Shaun Bertin led Queens
with 19 points despite foul trouble, and with the win, the Knights improved to 16-5 overall, and 11-2 in NYCAC.

However, the Knights suffered a road defeat at the hands of Adelphi University on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 70-54,
and their inability to win a big game away from home has become troubling. The Knights shot an ugly 25
percent for the game. You can’t beat any teams playing like that, let alone the division leader.

On the bright side, they followed up that loss with a 90-64 win over Concordia College on Saturday night.
Shaun Bertin was magnificent in this bout, posting 25 points and 16 rebounds. Wierzbicki added 24, while Clyde Chapman chipped in with 14, 8 boards, and 6 assists. Most importantly, the Knights improved their shooting, as they made an impressive 54 percent of their shots.

The Adelphi loss was the fourth road defeat for the Knights this season. Their only home defeat came at the hands of UMass-Lowell. Three other road losses the Knights suffered were to St. Anselm’s, Bridgeport and Adelphi. St. Anselm’s of the Northeast-10 conference is currently ranked 23rd overall in NCAA Division-II basketball, while conference rivals Bridgeport and Adelphi are the Knights’ main competition for supremacy atop the NYCAC.

Adelphi currently leads the conference with a 16-4 record overall, followed by Bridgeport and Queens, who are both a game behind.
In the game at Bridgeport, Wierzbicki shot 8-for-24 from the field, and in the game at Adelphi, he was 5-for-17.

Coming up for the Knights is a tough road trip in which they play three of their NYCAC foes, C.W. Post, the University of New Haven, and the New York Institute of Technology. When they finish up with that, they’ll return to Queens for their second-to-last home game of the season as they take on St. Thomas Aquinas College on Saturday, Feb. 18. Hopefully, Tuesday night’s victory will help the Knights streak through the stretch run, and enter the playoffs with more momentum than a bullet.