For Queens coach Bart Lundy, a back-and-forth game with South Atlantic Conference rival Wingate came down to one thing Wednesday night.
“We both had an opportunity to make a big basket,” he said after his Royals dropped a 75-74 decision to the Bulldogs at Cuddy Arena. “They took advantage of theirs and we didn’t.”
Wingate center Keith Griffin followed his own missed shot with 11 seconds left for the winning points and the Bulldogs kept Queens from getting off a shot on the game’s final possession to take their fourth straight win.
Guard Xavier Griffin led Wingate (14-9, 11-6 SAC) with 17 points as the Bulldogs moved into a second-place tie in the conference with the Royals (14-9, 11-6).
“Winning the conference is not in the picture (league-leading Lincoln Memorial has only one loss), but our goal is to finish as high as we can for the conference tournament,” Wingate coach Brian Good said. “So it was big from the standpoint of catching them (Queens).”
Queens guard Rob Lewis led all scorers, putting up 14 of his 21 points in the second half. But a shot on the final possession just didn’t materialize even after the ball got into his hands.
“We wanted to get the ball into the paint and we did, but we didn’t get a good look,” Lundy said. “We had options. We just didn’t get it done and that’s on me.”
It was closely contested all the way, with 11 ties and 12 lead changes, most of them in the second half. Neither team led by more than seven.
It was pretty closely called too, with a total of 49 fouls on both teams, resulting in 69 free throws. But Neither coach said that shaped the outcome.
“It’s just college basketball today,” Good said. “You get a close game in the late stages and both teams are trying to drive it to the paint. They (Queens) did a good job of getting there in the last minutes.”
Wingate, which had led 40-35 at halftime, led 73-70 lead with 2 minutes, 48 seconds left after Zeriq Lolar’s two free throws. Trey Erwin tied the game with a 3-pointer on Queens’ next possession and Lewis hit one of two free throws with 1:39 left to give the Royals their last lead at 74-73.
Former Vance standout Marquis Rankin scored 16 points for Queens and Erwin added 10. Sean Morgan and Jedarian Jackson pulled down 10 rebounds each. Lolar scored 11 points and grabbed nine rebounds for Wingate and Anthanee Doyle scored 10 points.