The Queens Royals weren’t in the best of situations in the first half of Saturday’s South Atlantic Conference men’s basketball game against Mars Hill.
Playing for the first time in more than two weeks and missing one starting guard, the Royals were sluggish on offense and plagued by foul trouble on their front line while struggling to a five-point advantage at the break.
But it was nothing they couldn’t fix, said guard Joby Glymph. The sophomore scored 17 points, pulled down six rebounds and had six assists to spark the Royals (5-5, 3-3 SAC) to an 82-73 victory over the Lions (2-9, 0-6) in Curry Arena. Glymph shifted to point guard in the absence of injured starter (broken little finger) Trey Erwin.
“We all knew we had to step up and get some rebounds, get some stops on defense and close out our possessions with baskets,” Glymph said. “It was important for us to come back from the (holiday) break with a win.”
A 60-50 rebound edge for the Royals was a key to this win, Queens’ third in the last four games. Nine Royals’ players contributed to that total, a key development after senior forward Brent Evans, the team’s top rebounder at 9.3 a game, picked up his third foul with five minutes left in the first half.
Post players Nkosi Ali and Josh Clyburn finished the half, which ended with Queens up 39-34, with two fouls each.
“With all of our starting size in foul trouble, some guys had to come in and give us a big lift,” Royals coach Bart Lundy said. “I thought we played well defensively early, but we were rusty on offense in the guts of the game. We’ve still got a lot of room to get better.”
Senior guard Jarrett Stokes led Queens with 23 points. Ali scored 14 points, all but three in the second half, and gathered 10 rebounds. Clyburn scored 10 and pulled down seven of his eight rebounds in the second half. Freshman forward Jared Hendryx had seven rebounds off the bench.
Mars Hill guard Devonte Williams led all scorers with 25 points. His five three-pointers led an 11-for-27 night for the Lions behind the three-point arc, allowing the visitors to stay in the game until the final minutes.
Queens held its biggest lead of the game at 59-46 on a pair of free throws by Griffin Shaw with 11 minutes and 27 seconds to play. Mars Hill closed the gap to 71-68 on a Williams 3-pointer with 4:26 left, but Stokes scored five points in a 7-0 Royals run over the next two minutes to help Queens pull away.
“We need to use this win to get some momentum and confidence,” Lundy said. “We lost some close games during the fall semester part of our schedule, so we need some traction going forward.”
Notes: The Royals travel to Hartsville, S.C, on Wednesday for a South Atlantic Conference game with Coker. … The next home game is at 4 p.m. Saturday against Carson-Newman.
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