No. 19 Queens rallies past Pioneers, 77-62

No. 19 Queens rallies past Pioneers, 77-62

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- The 19th-ranked Queens University of Charlotte men's basketball team used a 25-4 run to rally to a 77-62 South Atlantic Conference win over host Tusculum University Sunday afternoon at Pioneer Arena.

The Royals (11-2, 4-0 SAC) overcame a 50-35 deficit with 15:30 remaining and outscored the Pioneers 25-4 over a span of 12:05 to capture their sixth consecutive win and remain undefeated in conference play.

Shaun Willett led the charge as he tallied 15 points and 12 rebounds in the second half alone to finish with 21 markers and 18 boards for his nation-leading 10th double-double of the season.  Van Turner added 18 points including five 3-pointers, while Lewis Diankulu recorded 10 points and seven rebounds in the win.

Tusculum senior Donovan Donaldson led all scorers and he posted 22 points including 15 in the first half as the Pioneers bolted out to a 41-28 lead at the intermission.

It was all Tusculum in the first half as the Pioneers scored the first seven points of the game and shot 53.3 percent from the floor with four 3-pointers, and limited Queens to 10-of-26 shooting (38.5%).  Donaldson shot 5-of-6 from the floor, including 3-of-4 from three-point land and 2-of-2 at the free throw line.

In the second half, Queens' Kenny Dye hit a three-pointer to bring the Royals to within 10 at 41-31.  But junior forward Caleb Hodnett converted a rare four-point play as he nailed a trey and was fouled.  He made the free throw to give TU a 45-31 advantage with 18:03 left.

Diankulu made a jumper which was answered by Donaldson with his fourth triple of the game to make it a 15-point lead (48-33) for the Black and Orange.  The two teams exchanged buckets including Donaldson with his jumper with 15:30 to go.

The Royals scored 11 unanswered points over the next 2:25 to trim the once 15-point deficit to four at 50-46 with 12:05 remaining.  Willett accounted for eight points during the 11-0 run which also included a Turner three-pointer.

TU's Adrian Cohen stopped the spurt temporarily with a layup, but Turner hit another trey and made one of two free throws.  But on his second miss, Willett came up with the offensive rebound and scored the game-tying layup to knot the score at 52-52 with 10:10 left.

After a Tusculum turnover, Queens took its first lead of the game on a Diankulu layup with 9:19 remaining and a 54-52 advantage for the Royals.

The Queens run would eventually end at 17-0 as Turner hit a three-pointer and Daniel Carr converted a three-point play as the Royals led 63-52 with 5:19 remaining.

TU's Dillon Smith made a pair of free throws with five minutes left to stop the Queens run, but Diankulu answered with a dunk, Willett converted a three-point play and Kenny Dye came up with a steal and later scored on a jumper for the Royals largest lead of the game at 70-54 with 3:25 on the clock.

Tusculum could never get back to within single-digits as the Royals went 7-of-12 at the free throw line down the stretch.

Queens finished the game shooting 54 percent including a sizzling 17-of-24 in the second half for 71 percent including 13-of-15 inside the three-point arc in the final 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, Tusculum shot a cold 17.6 percent in the second half to finish the game at 34.4 percent (22-of-64).

Queens out-rebounded the Pioneers by a 41-30 margin and out-scored TU 40-22 in the paint.

Donaldson finished the game shooting 8-of-14 from the floor, including 4-of-8 from beyond the arch… Tusculum also got 11 points from Hodnett to go along with his team-high eight rebounds.  Tariq Jenkins added 10 points while Dillon Smith posted seven points.

Tusculum will close out the pre-Christmas schedule with a non-conference game at Barton College Wednesday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. from Wilson, North Carolina.