ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NY – Rock-solid games by seniors Tyree White and Kyheim Chaplin helped keep the Knights close on the road at Molloy before the Lions held out for a narrow three-point victory, 85-82, on Wednesday night.
White was the Knights' top scorer, converting 19 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor and a perfect 7-of-7 from the free throw line. Chaplin came off the bench to provide a major boost for Queens in the second half, scoring all of his 17 points on an extremely efficient 4-of-5 from three-point range and 6-of-8 overall. Guards Diego Maldonado and Tyrone Hall each chipped in 10 points of their own to bolster the Knights in defeat.
Each team headed into tonight's matchup sporting similar records, and the game's cadence followed way, as neither team was able to gain any real traction over the other. A steal by Knights' freshman Issac Grant and a push ahead to a Maldonado jumper opened the game's scoring, but that was quickly matched by a made jump shot by the Lion's Mike Guzzardi. Back-and-forth the score went, with the largest margin reaching out to a mere four points during the first ten minutes of action.
Two consecutive scores by Molloy then put the Lions seven points abreast of Queens, 31-24, with 8:19 remaining in the half, but the Knights were able to chip away behind points from Simon Greene and White to take a one-point lead with just under five minutes to go. Hall then connected on his second three of the half to give the Knights back their four-point lead. Molloy went on a brief 6-0 spurt thanks to Jaylen Morris nailing a three-pointer, and a later a free throw, to go back in front and hold on for a halftime lead of 45-43.
Queens got going in the second half behind two early layups by Maldonado, one in early transition after a Knights' defensive rebound, and the other coming as the shot clock whittled down. Another stop and two made free throws by White had the Knights leading 49-46 with 17:16 remaining. Molloy rebounded with another quick spurt, this time only five points to nab the lead before a pair of jumpers by Chaplin, one from midrange and the other from distance, leveled the score at 61 apiece with 9:22 to go. The Lions' Charlie Maquardt then had five of his 17 points during another quick run by Molloy, which allowed them to match their largest lead of the game at seven, 68-61.
The Knights' fortunes looked bleaker as a result, but the team rallied through a string of layups by White and two more three-pointers by Chaplain. They catapulted into the lead on the second of Chaplain's threes, 73-70, before going cold in the final 90 seconds, allowing the Lions to build their lead on free throws until the final score read 85-82 in favor of Molloy at the buzzer.
Queens was able to trouble the Lions' ball handlers and connected on ten three-pointers on the other end thanks in large part to Chaplain and Hall's combined efforts. They were called for far more fouls, however, and gave up 36 free throw attempts to Molloy, of which they managed to convert 25. Senior Jaylen Morris led Molloy with 20 points to even the Lions' conference record at 1-1 and move them to 4-6 overall on the year.
Now at 4-5 and 2-2 in conference play, the Knights will look to bounce back at home on Saturday, December 10, against UDC. Tip-off is slated for 3:30 p.m. in Fitzgerald Gymnasium.