The Queens Royals didn’t want to let another win get away, like they did the last time they were on their home court.
With a two-point loss to Livingstone at Curry Arena 10 days earlier still a fresh memory, Saturday afternoon’s 81-64 victory over South Atlantic Conference foe Brevard was a sign of progress.
“We’ve been working on those situations in practice, up seven with four minutes to go,” said junior forward Sean Morgan, one of five double-figure scorers for Queens (3-5, 3-2) with 12 points. “Just play together, no turnovers, no fouls. It’s taken us a little time to figure things out.”
Guard Rob Lewis scored 19 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dealt out six assists to lead Queens, which trailed just once in the game but led by only five (64-59) with six minutes to play.
But unlike the Livingstone game, where the Royals let a double-digit lead get away in the second half, they closed the deal this time. Queens outscored the Tornados 17-5 the rest of the way.
“We did everything we were supposed to do to close it out,” Royals coach Bart Lundy said. “We’ve been working hard in practice and I like the way we’re trending. I can see some chemistry developing, assists going up.”
And significantly for this game, a good defensive effort on the South Atlantic’s leading scorer. Senior forward Darius Moose of Brevard (1-7, 1-4) scored a team-high 15 points, seven under his average. But only five pointscame in the second half and just two in the last 10 minutes.
Lundy credited the play of 6-foot-8 freshman forward Todd Withers, who drew the defensive assignment on Moose in his first college start – in addition to scoring 12 points and gathering seven rebounds.
“He did a fantastic job,” Lundy said. “Moose is a player who had hurt us with his post play in the past. (Withers) worked hard to keep the ball away from him.”
The Royals led by as many as 14 in the first half before taking a 37-31 lead to the halftime break. Brevard led just once in the game, at 56-55 with 10:30 left to play on a layup by Treyvon Shaw.
Marquis Rankin scored 11 points and Trey Ervin added 10 for Queens, which shot 52.8 percent (28-of-53) from the field. Shaw scored 13 for Brevard.
NOTES: Queens center Nkosi Ali has been declared academically ineligible and will miss the rest of the season. The 7-foot senior averaged 8.4 points and a team-leading 6.4 rebounds in five games… The Royals’ next game is at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Johnson C. Smith. Their next home game is at 1 p.m. Thursday against College of Faith-Charlotte.