As his team nears the end of an up-and-down season, Queens men’s basketball coach Bart Lundy says the Royals have accomplished some important things.
“It’s late in the game, but we’re finally putting some things together,” he said after Queens’ 70-60 victory over Catawba on Wednesday night in a South Atlantic Conference game at Curry Arena.
“At the first of the season, most of us were new to each other, and recently we’ve had guys in and out because of injuries. But we played a solid team game tonight.”
Senior forward Josh Clyburn scored 18 points, one of four Royals in double figures, and pulled down 10 rebounds as Queens (13-12, 11-10 SAC) broke a two-game losing streak.
The Royals also inched to the top of a three-way race for sixth place in the conference standings. The teams they were tied with, Wingate and Coker, both lost on Wednesday night.
“The win’s good for our seeding. We’ll just have to see what happens on Saturday (the last game of the regular season),” Lundy said.
Junior center Nkosi Ali scored 12 points and senior forward Brent Evans and sophomore guard Joby Glymph added 11 each for Queens. Sophomore guard Kijuan Arrington scored a game-high 19 points for Catawba (7-18, 7-14), which has lost four of its last five games.
The Royals grabbed an early 15-8 lead, but then traded big runs with the Indians for the rest of the half. Catawba led 30-24 at the break.
But in the second half Queens turned up the heat defensively, holding Catawba scoreless over a five-minute plus span. Meanwhile, the Royals turned a 38-36 edge into a comfortable 50-36 advantage.
“We were just all playing together,” Clyburn said. “We have a size advantage over most teams, and we were able to collapse on them when they tried to get the ball inside. And on offense, we just did a good job of hitting the open man.”
Catawba’s standout post player, 6-foot-8 junior Tyrece Little, added 17 points for the Indians. But he wasn’t a factor down the stretch, fouling out with seven minutes to play.
“Brent did a good defensive job on him,” Lundy said.
The Indians had one more surge left in them late in the second half. Arrington sparked a comeback with a pair of 3-pointers and Catawba closed to 63-59 with two minutes left. But they couldn’t get any closer.
Queens closes the regular season at 4 p.m. Saturday against Anderson in Curry Arena.
“It’s an interesting game, because depending on the tiebreakers, we could face them again Wednesday (in a first-round tournament game),” Lundy said. “It might be a pretty close-to-the-vest kind of thing, with neither team wanting to show the other too much.”
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