Daniel Camps scored a career-high 29 points and Queens shut down the high-powered Lincoln Memorial offense down the stretch Sunday, lifting the Royals to a 75-72 victory and their first South Atlantic Conference tournament title.
The Royals (28-3), ranked 10th nationally, blanked the ninth-ranked Railsplitters over the final three minutes. The teams split a pair of two-point decisions earlier this season.
Late Sunday night, the NCAA announced Queens’ prize: Homecourt advantage as top seed and host of next weekend’s Southeast Regional tournament. However, Queens’ opener is a challenge: The Royals take on No. 8 seed Wingate (20-10), a SAC rival that accounts for two of Queens’ three losses, on Saturday. It’ll be the teams’ fourth game this season: Queens rolled past Wingate 79-51 in the SAC semifinals in their third meeting.
Lincoln Memorial is the region’s No. 2 seed.
“We’re not the biggest team, but our guys worked so hard,” Queens coach Bart Lundy said. “Both of these teams are great, and we just made a few more plays down the stretch.”
While Camps did most of the scoring, it was Ike Agusi who led the way down the stretch, especially after Camps picked up his fourth foul with 9:42 remaining.
A tip-in by Chris Perry with 2:59 remaining gave the Railsplitters a 72-71 lead. Agusi tied the game with a free throw nine seconds later, then scored on a short jump shot with 2:09 left for a 74-72 Queens lead. His free throw with 1:18 remaining closed the scoring.
Camps missed a jump shot with 37 seconds left, but teammate Mike Davis grabbed the rebound, and the Royals ran the clock down to six seconds before missing another shot. Lincoln Memorial called a time out with 2.5 seconds left.
Queens fouled Emanuel Terry before the inbound pass, preventing the Railsplitters from trying a 3-pointer. Terry missed a foul shot, and time ran out before either team got possession of the ball.
Queens won despite going 1-of-16 from 3-point range. The Royals made 24 free throws to Lincoln Memorial’s 11. Perry led the Railsplitters with 20 points and nine rebounds.
Charlotte 49ers, Davidson open conference tournaments
▪ The Charlotte 49ers will open Conference USA men’s tournament play at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday against seventh seed Alabama Birmingham (16-15). The 49ers (13-16) are the 10th seed in the tournament, being played at Legacy Arena in Birmingham.
The teams met on Feb. 9, with UAB winning 82-69 at home. The winner faces second seed Louisiana Tech (22-9) in a 6:30 p.m. Thursday quarterfinal game.
▪ No. 9 seed Davidson (15-14, 8-10 A10) opens the Atlantic 10 Tournament on Thursday at noon against No. 8 La Salle (15-14, 9-9) in Pittsburgh, Pa. The teams met in Philadelphia on Jan. 19, with La Salle winning 91-83.