College Sports

NCAA Division II regional: Queens draws off home crowd in 2nd-half rally

Queens guard Darryl White, left, shoots against Wingate guard Mike Baez in the first half of the opening round of the NCAA Division II men's basketball regionals.
Queens guard Darryl White, left, shoots against Wingate guard Mike Baez in the first half of the opening round of the NCAA Division II men's basketball regionals.

Queens is within a win of a trip to the Elite Eight.

The Royals overcame a double-digit second-half deficit to beat Augusta in the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Sunday at Curry Arena. Queens will play South Atlantic Conference rival Lincoln Memorial Tuesday at 7 p.m. for the regional championship.

Forward Todd Withers came up big for the top seeded Royals (29-3) with 19 of his game-high 25 points in the second half, including 8-of-15 from 3-point range to spark Queens’ rally. Mike Davis added 19 for the Royals while Ike Agusi chipped in 14 and Daniel Camps 12.

No. 5 seed Augusta (24-7) led 56-43 with 17:50 to play, but Queens methodically cut into the deficit, finally pulling ahead 74-73 on Withers’ triple with 4:17 left. Key to the Royals’ comeback was their defense, which shut off access to the lane and controlled the boards when the Jaguars missed. Augusta hit 11-of-30 shots in the second half compared to Queens’ 13-of-27 but turned the ball over nine times after the break while the Royals committed a pair.

It also helped that Queens got a huge second half from Withers, who scored 21 points after halftime, including five 3-pointers that sparked the Royals’ rally. With every make, Queens’ confidence grew and the pro-Royals crowd roared with approval.

Augusta outscored Queens 14-9 over the final four minutes of the first half to grab a 49-43 advantage at the break, primarily on the strength of getting to the hoop for easy baskets on the drive. Point guard Keshun Sherrill, who led Augusta with 24 points, scored 10 of the Jaguars’ 20 first-half points in the paint compared to the Royals’ eight.

Tyvez Monroe, who paced Augusta with 12 points in the half, provided balance from the perimeter, connecting on 3-of-4 shots for the Jaguars, who shot 60.6 percent (20-of-33) from the floor.

Queens, led by Davis’ 12 points on 3-of-6 shooting, struggled to find the range, hitting just 41.2 percent (14-of-34) of its shots. The Royals found some success by shooting 3-pointers in volume, canning 7-of-19 beyond the arc kept to stay in contention.

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