SPARKILL, NY – Senior Tyree White led four Knights in double figures with 24, but the Queens College men's basketball team were outmatched inside and in transition on the road against St. Thomas Aquinas, falling by the final score of 95-84 on Saturday afternoon.
The Knights had little trouble scoring the ball, connecting on 50 percent of their field goal attempts and 39 percent from deep. Queens College put another strain on the Spartans' defense by making it to the line for 34 free throw attempts, of which they were able to make 25. White embodied the team's efficiency by going 8-of-12 both on his attempts from the floor and from the free throw line. Reserves Tyrone Hall and Simon Green used different ways of getting to their 11- and 10-point totals and freshman Kevin Buron scored a season-high 11 points in his second career start.
Although the Knights seemed to have enough answers on the offensive end, their inability to contain the Spartans' Justin Reyes turned into a fatal flaw. Reyes exploded for his highest point total of the season with 37, many of which came off second- and third-chance opportunities after offensive rebounds. He had 15 rebounds when all was said and done, with 10 of those coming on the offensive end, which allowed him to single-handedly provide the engine for St. Thomas Aquinas to outscore the Knights 23-11 on second-chance points and 42-26 on points inside.
Queens College hung around in spite of Reyes' best efforts, though. The Knights were able to streak to a hot start, hitting on three of their first four shots to take a 10-8 lead into the first media timeout. Diego Maldonado and Malcolm Moore each had a three-pointer during the span, which helped stretch out the floor and open driving opportunities for White to later exploit. Buron, meanwhile, had his most inspired game in a Knights' uniform, hitting on a short jumper in the lane for his seventh point before the game was even ten minutes old to give Queens a 20-17 lead. The Spartans outscored the Knights by 14 over the next ten minutes to take an 11-point lead with 1:22 remaining in the half, before White scored on consecutive possessions and found Moore with time to knock down his second three-pointer before the halftime horn sounded, bringing Queens within six, 44-38.
The Knights were then able to whittle the lead down to five on two separate occasions early in the second half, and again down to six later on after a three-pointer by Hall exerted more pressure on the Spartans who at that point had already restored their double-digit lead from the first half. With Reyes dominating the way he was inside, though, St. Thomas Aquinas was simply unassailable. He had 26 points on 8-of-11 shooting in the second half alone and was perfect from the free throw line going 10-of-10. His teammates Jonathan Lawtown and Shaquille McFarlan filled in ably behind him with 15- and 10-point totals of their own, as the Spartans improved to 6-2 in East Coast Conference play and 11-4 overall.
Queens slipped to 4-3 in conference action and 7-7 for the season with the loss. Their next chance to bounce back comes Wednesday evening at home in a conference matchup with Daemen. Game time is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.