Men’s Basketball Drops 75-73 Heartbreaker to Bridgeport in ECC Thriller on Senior Day

Men’s Basketball Drops 75-73 Heartbreaker to Bridgeport in ECC Thriller on Senior Day

FLUSHING, N.Y. – Battling back-and-forth all night long, the Queens College men's basketball team came up just short in a 75-73 heartbreaker to the University of Bridgeport on Wednesday night. What would have been a magical moment was not meant to be, as senior Diego Maldonado's three-pointer at the buzzer would not fall.

The Knights recognized their seven seniors on the roster prior to the contest: Maldonado, Tyree White, Kyheim Chaplin, Malcolm Moore, Marquis Roberts, Idrissa Gandega, and Fredric Bowers.

White and junior Simon Green led the Knights with 14 points apiece. Green added six rebounds, while White blocked three shots and registered two steals. Chaplin posted his first career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman Kevin Buron added nine points and five rebounds.

Outside of the first 27 seconds of the game, Bridgeport led for the entire first half. The Purple Knights took a 21-13 lead 8:49 into the game after a pair of buckets from Montana Mayfield, but the Knights were able to pull within two, 25-23, after White capped a 10-4 run. However, Bridgeport immediately answered with six straight points. After a basket by Moore, Stefano Osuji nailed a triple to give Bridgeport a 34-25 lead with 3:44 until halftime. The Knights battled back, as Roberts sank a three-pointer to start a 12-4 run for Queens, which was capped off by a Chaplin three to cut the lead to just one at 38-37 before Kyle Benjamin hit a jumper just before the horn sounded to give Bridgeport a 40-37 halftime lead.

Queens finally evened the score at 40 all out of the break after a three from Maldonado. The Knights then took their first lead, 42-40, 1:29 into the half on a pair of free-throws by Roberts. The Purple Knights then answered with a 7-2 run to jump back on top, 47-44, before White hit a pair of foul shots, and Chaplin canned another three to put Queens on top, 49-47. Sam Joseph then hit back-to-back triples, as Bridgeport regained the lead and maintained it until Green hit back-to-back threes of his own to tie it up. In a spurt of scoring eight straight points for the Knights, Green gave Queens a 64-62 lead on a layup with 6:41 to go.

After nearly two scoreless minutes for both teams, junior Tyrone Hall hit a three and added two free-throws to give the Knights their largest lead of the night, 69-62, with 4:20 on the clock. However, Bridgeport scored the game's next seven points to even the score at 69 all. White put home a lay-in to put Queens up once again, 71-69, with 1:36 to go, but Bridgeport went ahead on three by Osuji. Then Green scored a layup on the Knights' next possession to give them a 73-72 lead, as Queens called a timeout with 40 seconds to play. Mayfield scored out of the timeout for the Purple Knights, and Bridgeport then took a two-point lead, 75-73, after making 1-of-2 foul shots. The Knights had two chances to tie or take the lead after that, as Chaplin missed from deep, and after another missed Bridgeport free-throw, Maldonado was unsuccessful on his three-point attempt at the buzzer.

Queens was effective from behind the arc (42.9%) and from the charity stripe (83.3%), but overall Bridgeport (49.2%) had more success from the field than Queens (39.7%).

The Knights travel to LIU Post on Saturday, Feb. 18, for a crucial East Coast Conference matchup at 4 p.m. A win over the Pioneers would earn the Knights a spot in the ECC Tournament.