Already missing three starters, the Queens Royals had to dig deep to survive second-half foul problems and subdue Brevard 84-74 in a South Atlantic Conference men’s basketball game Saturday night at Curry Arena.
Guard Jarrett Stokes scored 25 points and center Josh Clyburn put in 19 to lead four Queens players in double figures in the homecoming victory in front of a crowd of 1,300, the largest in the school’s basketball history.
But the two seniors’ play, good as it was, wasn’t the only key to the third straight win by the Royals (11-9, 9-7 SAC).
The Royals had to overcome the absence of a couple of their big men – senior forward Brent Evans and 7-foot junior center Nkosi Ali. Both were recently suspended for what coach Bart Lundy called “violations of team rules.” He said both would return “soon” but hasn’t determined a date. Queens was also missing sophomore point guard Joby Glymph, out with an unspecified injury.
“We had some guys playing more minutes than they’re used to playing, and they stepped up,” he said. “Our depth has developed a lot from the beginning of the season.”
Senior guard/forward David Mason helped the Royals to a 36-26 rebounding edge with 13 boards, and he added 16 points. Freshman guard Grant Rasmussen scored 10 points and freshman forward Logan Evans pulled down nine rebounds.
“We knew we had to play hard from the jump tonight,” Mason said. “Just go in and smack them. Coach told me to go for every rebound.”
The Royals used a 12-0 run, highlighted by a couple of Stokes three-pointers (he finished with 5), to take command of the game midway through the first half. They built their largest lead at 40-20 on a follow shot by Mason with 4:31 left before halftime, and went to the break ahead 45-27.
But the Tornados (3-16, 3-12 SAC), led by Darius Moose’s 29 points, countered with three 3-pointers in the opening minutes of the second half to trim the lead to single digits. And though the Royals pushed back out to a 20-point lead again at 66-46 on a Stokes jumper, Brevard didn’t go away.
The Tornados were still within eight with three minutes left as Queens’ entire starting front line – Mason, Clyburn and freshman Jared Hendryx – fouled out, but couldn’t get any closer.
“They could shoot the ball and they were hard to guard,” Lundy said. “But I thought we had more energy than they did in the end and we got good offensive possessions. We’re learning how to win a little bit.”
Former East Mecklenburg standout Miles Leathers, a sophomore guard, scored 18 points for Brevard, which has lost nine straight games.
NOTES: The Royals host Wingate at 8 p.m. on Wednesday. The Bulldogs won the first meeting of the teams 80-65 on Jan. 15 at Wingate.
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