BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Senior Diego Maldonado knocked down all five of his three-pointers for a team-high 20 points and the Knights hit 67 percent of their attempts from deep to overcome Bridgeport in conference action on Wednesday night by the final score of 84-75.
The result gave Queens their first triumph over the Purple Knights in five seasons, and it took a team-wide effort to accomplish the feat. The Knights had four players score in double-digits paced by Maldonado's 20. Senior Malcolm Moore scored 17 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the floor, 10 of which came in the second half when Bridgeport threatened the Knights' lead on multiple occasions. Senior Kyheim Chaplin connected on three three-pointers to score 15 points in 29 minutes off the bench, and senior Tyree White did a little bit of everything with 11 points, six rebounds, six assists and two steals.
Bridgeport pounced early on, scoring the game's first eight points and taking an 11-3 lead behind a pair of three-pointers from senior Stefano Osuji. After struggling from three-point range in their last game, a road loss to New Haven, the Knights' shooters were on target right from the start. Moore nailed the team's first attempt from three to stop the bleeding in the opening stretch and that ended up giving way to the Knights rattling off six of their seven attempts from behind the arc during the first half. Maldonado was responsible for four of those makes on his way to scoring 15 points. He had 12 during Queens' extended 18-4 run between the 12- and 3-minute marks in the first half that put the Knights ahead 33-19. Bridgeport took back four points before the halftime buzzer sounded but after shooting 50 percent from the floor, the Knights still led 36-26.
After White converted a three-point play and Maldonado sunk another jumper to open the half, Queens looked prime to ride their first half momentum to a road win. Bridgeport battled back a few times, though, cutting the Knights' margin first down to two, 41-39, after Osuji converted his own three-point play, and twice more down to three as the second half wore on.
Queens was able to respond emphatically each time, especially with their inspired five-minute stretch winding down from the 17-minute mark. In addition to hot shooting from Moore and Chaplin during the span, junior guard Simon Green was able to exploit tentative defense from Bridgeport's Carlos DeJesus, who was battling foul trouble. The Knights' crafty guard penetrated at will and unlocked opportunities for teammates and himself. He first banked in a runner from the right side that also drew a foul to make the score 51-45. Two possessions later he drove to the hoop for another layup to restore the Knights' double-digit lead, and then followed that up with a bounce pass to Moore who was sealing his defender for an inside bucket. Queens led 57-45 with 12 minutes to go and was able to hold off Bridgeport's final attacks on the lead with timely shooting and accurate free throws down the stretch to win 84-75.
With the win, the Knights leaped over Bridgeport in the conference standings by improving to 4-2 in ECC-play and 7-6 overall. Bridgeport now sits at 3-2 inside the conference and 7-7 in all play. Osuji led the Purple Knights in defeat with 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting.
Queens College remains on the road for their next game, Saturday's conference matchup against St. Thomas Aquinas. Game time against the top-seeded Spartans is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.