Queens rallies, salvages NCAA regional victory
Top-seeded Queens did just enough right down the stretch Saturday evening and salvaged a 76-72 victory over Emmanuel in the first round of the NCAA Division 2 Southeast Regional.
The Royals won despite a cold-shooting night and foul troubles that kept South Atlantic Conference Player on the bench for big chunks of the game.
Queens (29-4) will play at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Levine Center, in the semifinals against the winner of Saturday night’s finale, between Catawba and UNC Pembroke.
Willett picked up his fourth personal foul with 10:28 remaining and the score tied at 52.
Emmanuel then went on a 9-1 run, taking a 61-53 lead on a stick-back by Brandon Simpson with 7:51 remaining.
A key play in the comeback came with 6:05 left, when Queens freshman Jermaine Patterson scored on a driving layup and was fouled. He made the free throw, closing the gap to 61-58. Willett re-entered the game at that point and had a key role down the stretch.
He stole the ball and scored on a dunk with 5:30 remaining, cutting Emmanuel’s lead to 61-60. Willett put the Royals ahead 67-65 on a jump shot with 2:36 remaining.
Queens made it interesting in the closing minutes, missing five straight free throws. But Van Turner Jr., Daniel Carr and Jermaine Patterson each made a pair of foul shots in the final 30 seconds, and the Royals hung on.
The Royals hit 0-of-10 3-point field-goal attempts in the first half, were outrebounded 23-16 and played much of the half without Willett.
Reserve Blake Morrow was a big reason why Queens stayed in the game in the opening 20 minutes. He entered the game with the Royals down 11-4 and 15:59 left in the half. Over the next six minutes, Morrow scored 10 points and sparked an 18-1 Queens run.
That put the Royals up 22-12, but Emmanuel slowly battled back.
Willett, who picked up his second foul just six minutes into the game, re-entered with 4:35 left in the half but was whistled for his third foul two minutes later.
The half ended with Emmanuel’s Austin Greene banking an offbalance 3-point shot into the basket, putting the Lions up 33-32.
3 WHO MATTERED
Blake Morrow (Queens): He scored all of his 10 points in the first half, and it helped keep the Royals in the game when they were having all kinds of other problems.
Jermaine Patterson (Queens): A freshman reserve guard, Patterson came up big, scoring a team-high 16 points.
Austin Greene (Emmanuel): The Lions’ point guard was a thorn in Queens’ side all night, scoring 24 points. He fouled out in the final minute, taking away one of the Lions’ key 3-point shooting threats.
Queens plays at 7:30
p.m. Sunday in the Southeast Regional semifinals, facing either Catawba or UNC Pembroke.