A 79-61 South Atlantic Conference tournament quarterfinal victory over Anderson was just one small step for the Queens men's basketball team on Wednesday night.
They aren’t shooting for the moon, but the Royals (26-3) — ranked variously at No. 7 and No. 10 in Division II — do have national championship aspirations.
“We think we’re one of the best teams in the country,” said junior guard Mike Davis, who led four Queens players in double-figure scoring with 18 points. “The only thing that can stop us is us.”
That didn't happen to the No. 2 -seeded Royals, who trailed only in the opening minute and cruised into a berth in the tournament semifinals in Greenville, S.C., on Saturday.
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After Queens rolled to an early 11-point lead, the No. 7 seed Trojans (13-16) got back-to-back 3-pointers from Jeremy Bouton and Shawn Benard to pull within five at 28-23 six minutes before halftime, but the Royals scored the next 10 points and held a 40-30 advantage at the break.
Bouton hit four 3-pointers and led all scorers with 25 points.
After trading baskets with the Trojans on their first few second-half possessions, Queens gradually pulled away. The Royals’ largest lead was 79-58 in the final minute.
Three who mattered
Mike Davis, Queens: Scored 13 points in the first half, including five in the late run that put the Royals in control of the game to stay.
Jalin Alexander, Queens: Scored 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field.
Daniel Camps, Queens: Hit all six of his shots, scoring 15 points. Also led all rebounders with nine.
▪ The Royals pounded the ball inside from the start, and the strategy paid dividends early. Anderson’s 6-foot-7 freshman center Carlos Dotson, the Trojans’ top rebounder, got in early foul trouble and had only two rebounds.
▪ Anderson was also missing its leading scorer, guard Randall Shaw (20.6 points per game), who has been out much of the last month with a injuries.
They said it
“They (Anderson) were down some numbers, so we thought driving the ball was what we needed to do. We could have played a little cleaner and guarded a little better, but we’re in a good place right now.” — Queens coach Bart Lundy
▪ Guard Ike Agusi scored 11 points and handed out six assists for the Royals.
▪ Queens will face Wingate in an 8 p.m. Saturday semifinal at Furman University’s Timmons Arena. No. 3-seeded Wingate, which beat Catawba 91-85 Wednesday night, handed Queens two of its three regular-season losses.