The Queens College men’s basketball team’s season finished up on Feb. 24 after a blowout loss to the East Coast Conference regular season leaders Bridgeport with a final score of 114-85.
That night the Molloy College Lions defeated Mercy College, winning a tiebreaker against the Knights to qualify for the ECC Men’s Basketball Championship tournament.
While the final night of the regular season brought disappointment, the Knights can walk away from this season with their heads held high with the hope and belief that they have the ability to come back as a better team next season.
The Knights started the season 1-5 before getting a big road victory against Adelphi University before ECC play began.
Throughout ECC play we saw the same trend, the Knights came back down double digits in multiple games to win. They also lost seven in a row at one point before finishing the year winning four out of six games.
“I’d say we had an up and down season, which was expected when you’re playing nine new players who’ve never played together before,” said head coach Matt Collier. “But I felt we really started to show who we were as a team at the end, being in position to be a playoff team.”
That was the biggest X-factor heading to this season for the Knights whose team featured six freshmen to complement the only two seniors, Tyrone Hall and Simon Green, as well as underclassmen Jordan Curtis, Issac Grant and Kevin Buron.
At times the youth and inexperience showed as the Knights had some tough losses to District of Columbia and LIU Post in the middle of the season and there were times when they competed against the top teams like Bridgeport, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Robert Wesleyan.
Their best stretch of games came before the season finale against Bridgeport when it looked like they were out of the playoff race. The Knights won four out of five games which included road wins against Robert Wesleyan and Mercy College, and a big home victory over LIU Post.
“They [the players] could’ve thrown in the towel but they, along with our coaching staff, never stopped believing that we could make a run,” said coach Collier. “All you can ask for is for guys to fight.”
Fight is just what they did as every player, from the scoring of Hall and Green to the rebounding and inside scoring of Grant and Curtis, in addition to the plays made by all the freshmen, battled all season and fell just short of their goal but above expectations as they were predicted to finish 8th in the conference and be nowhere near playoff contention.
Now that the season has passed the Knights are not wasting time when it comes to preparing themselves for next season.
“We’ve talked about how we can help the guys get better, and we’ll build from there,” said Collier.
Collier mainly talked about how the team will put more work into improving the team’s defense, which got better as the season progressed but certainly was the Achilles’ heel of the team early on.
Offense is also an area of focus for the Knights. Although they had some games when they scored at least 80 or 90 points, they certainly feel they can improve on their 73.6 points per game average, especially with teams like Bridgeport and Aquinas who both had plenty of games when they scored over 100 points.
All signs are pointing up for the Knights for next season, with their freshmen having played a full year together on the Division II level they will be more developed and ready to compete next year, and the Knights have the expectation to match their ambition.
“We want to compete and make the playoffs next year” said Collier. “We all believe that we have great talent on this team, so we’re going to put in the work needed so we can establish great cultures and standards for the program.”