College Sports

Queens’ defense triggers rout of Mars Hill

Queens junior Todd Withers scored 25 points to lead four players in double figures as the Royals beat visiting Mars Hill 85-57 Saturday afternoon.
Queens junior Todd Withers scored 25 points to lead four players in double figures as the Royals beat visiting Mars Hill 85-57 Saturday afternoon. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

The Queens Royals made a fast recovery from a slow beginning on the way to matching their best start to a men’s basketball season Saturday afternoon.

Junior forward Todd Withers scored 25 points to lead four players in double figures for No. 4-ranked Queens (12-0, 6-0) in an 85-57 rout of Mars Hill in a South Atlantic Conference game at Curry Arena.

The Royals matched last year’s all-time best start of a season. But Queens’ defense had to give a jump-start to the team after a sluggish first four minutes, which had the teams tied at 4-4.

“When we were able to get some stops, that helped,” Queens coach Bart Lundy said. “We did a good job of turning defense into offense.”

An 11-1 run over the next two minutes put the Royals in control to stay.

Makyle Wilkerson and Indiana Rotondo scored 12 points each to lead Mars Hill (3-7, 1-4).

Three who mattered

Todd Withers, Queens: How hot was he in the first half? He scored 20 points before the break. When he got to 17, on a 3-pointer with 5 minutes, 24 seconds left in the half, that gave his team a 35-17 lead. He also had a game-high seven rebounds.

Jared Hendryx, Queens: The senior contributed solid inside play with 10 points, six blocked shots and six rebounds.

Ike Agusi, Queens: The junior point guard scored 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting and added four assists.

Observations

▪  Queens held Mars Hill sophomore guard Vernon Jackson, the Lions’ top scorer at 14 points a game, scoreless on an 0-for-10 shooting from the field.

▪ The Royals have been without their top scorer and rebounder, senior forward Daniel Camps, for the past four games. He was injured in the first half against Anderson on Dec. 3.

They said it

“Wow, just wow. But it was all in the flow of the game. My teammates did a good job of getting the ball to me when they saw a couple of shots go in. We look for each other.” — Withers, asked whether the first half (6-of-10 from 3-point range) was his greatest shooting half.

Worth mentioning

Queens won’t play again until a Jan. 4 South Atlantic Conference game at Catawba. The next home game is a big one, against defending conference champion Lincoln Memorial on Jan. 7.

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