A pair of ECC games postponed due to weather on Wednesday came to fruition on what would have been a quiet Thursday in the region. And in each case, the higher team in the standings prevailed:
MOLLOY 72 QUEENS 56
Curtis Jenkins generated 23 points (8-14 FG) and Mike Torre totaled 13 points with six rebounds, leading Molloy to a tidy victory over Queens in Flushing to solidify second place and the first-round bye that accompanies it. This one was all Lions as the visitors established a 27-17 halftime divide, then opened the second stanza with a 32-16 spell that put the game out of reach at 59-33 inside the eight-minute mark. The Knights – who were paced by Dwayne Henry’s 14 points and five steals – never came closer than 14 down the stretch as they fell into a virtual tie with idle District of Columbia for the sixth and final playoff spot with two games to go (four for UDC). Elijah Bovell (13 points off the bench) and Keenan Gorski (11 points, eight boards) provided adequate depth for Queens, though it wasn’t enough to overcome frigid 29% shooting (MC made half of its attempts). Molloy was better in the paint (34-14) and at the line (18-30 to 8-11), while the Knights made more noise from deep (8-31 to 2-7).
MERCY 75 NYIT 73
Mercy kept its postseason hopes alive after squeaking past New York Institute of Technology at Victory Hall to end a five-game slide. The Mavericks used a 15-5 second-half run to flip a 50-47 deficit into a 62-55 lead following Bryan Griffin’s traditional 3-point play with 8:10 to play. The Bears – who were fronted by Collins Onyeike’s 22 points (8-11 FG) and nine rebounds – twice shaved their deficit to one point in the waning seconds – the last occurrence at 74-73 on two Brandon Redondo free throws (his only points off the bench) with five seconds left. Korey Lee (seven points, six rebounds in a reserve role) was immediately fouled and converted one of two freebies to make it 75-73, then the freshman forward blocked Aaron Fowlkes’ potential tying lay-up out of bounds as the final horn sounded, consigning NYIT to its ninth consecutive setback. Sal Barbetto (21 points, four assists), Amir Atkins (20) and Griffin (15 points, 7-12 FG, eight caroms) carried the Mavs, who won despite being outrebounded (45-37), moving within a game and a half of the last playoff berth. Kieran Hamilton contributed 14 points and Marcus Saint-Furcy 11 with eight rebounds for the Bears, who torpedoed their chances by shooting a woeful 12-of-22 at the foul line (MC was 16-21). Both teams shot an identical 27-for-64 from the floor.