By Anthony Bosco and Dylan Butler
Long after the 30,169 fans filed out the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, and the nets were cut down and the press conferences were over, Royal Ivey sat at his locker Sunday when the reality hit him like a James Thomas screen.
“Damn, I’m going to the Final Four,” the former Cardozo standout said after helping lead Texas to an 85-76 win over Michigan State in the South Regional Final. “We’re one step closer towards what we feel we want to accomplish. We want the whole thing, not just a piece.”
The Hollis resident, a 6-foot-3 starting shooting guard, helped lead the Longhorns — the only No. 1 seed remaining — into the Final Four where they will face Syracuse Saturday at the Superdome in New Orleans. Opening tip-off is slated for 8:35 p.m.
Against No. 7 Michigan State, Ivey was saddled with foul trouble and played just 25 minutes. He had 3 points and 6 rebounds.
“It feels good, but we want more,” Ivey said. “It’s good to play on the last weekend of college basketball. We want it all. We don’t want to stop now.”
Before beating Michigan State, Texas (26-6) edged UConn, led by former St. John’s Prep star Taliek Brown, 82-78 Friday night. Ivey had 10 points, including 6-for-6 from the foul line, and limited Huskies leading scorer Ben Gordon to 16 points on 6-of-15 shooting from the field.
Brown, meanwhile, had 9 points and 7 assists and tied the game at 71 when he stole the ball and scored a layup while getting fouled hard by Ivey.
“I kinda should’ve let him get the layup,” Ivey said. “He’s strong and he just got up quick. I had a bad angle and he just finished.”
Making the trip south with Ivey’s parents, Rod and Jennifer, will be his younger brother Sterling as well as Ivey’s high school coach Ron Naclerio, who says Ivey is the first player from Cardozo to ever play in the Final Four.
“It’s a long drive,” Ivey said of his family’s choice of transportation to New Orleans. “[My dad] was upset he couldn’t get to San Antonio, and I told him to just hold on and we’ll do what we have to do to get to New Orleans.”
Queens College 3-5, St. Thomas Aquinas 1-3. The Knights (3-5 overall, 3-3 NYCAC) swept a doubleheader Sunday led by Carlos Cruz, who was 3-for-3 in the opener with two runs scored a 1-for-2 with an RBI in the nightcap. Keith Haack scattered two hits through seven to earn the win in the first game with Carl Waldheim nailing down the save.
John Waldheim allowed two earned runs in the second, but the Knights touched St. Thomas starter Tom Haslacher for 11 hits. Patrick Hogarty got the save for Queens.
Queens lost a non-conference game to William Paterson on March 26, 23-1, and dropped a NYCAC match-up with Mercy College, 2-1, March 25, in extra innings.
Queensborough 6, Suffolk West 1. Roger Mischel went 1-for-3 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored, and Brian Berg was 2-for-3 with a double, one RBI and one run scored. Luis Abreu improved to 1-1, allowing one earned run on six hits while striking out six in 6.2 innings for Queensborough (7-3, 3-2 Region XV) in the nightcap of a doubleheader Saturday at Cardozo High School.
Queensborough 13, Suffolk West 8. Pete Petrides belted two doubles and drove in three runs, Jeff Lulanaj was 2-for-3 with one RBI and two runs scored, and Melvin Batista was 2-for-4 with three RBI in the opener. Mario Santiago improved to 2-0, allowing eight runs on eight hits while striking out five and walking three in five innings.
The Tigers, who face Suffolk again this weekend, also defeated Middlesex Community College 7-0 Sunday before the second game got rained out.
Southampton 4, Queens College 3. Victoria Forsythe was the hard-luck loser, giving up an unearned run in the bottom of the seventh as the Lady Knights (8-8, 5-2) dropped just their second conference game Monday. Crystal Wilson was 2-for-3 with 2 RBIs for Queens, while Lisa Tropea and Cheryl Cosenzo added two hits apiece in the loss.
Queens College 3-1, Dowling College 0-0. Forsythe allowed just two runs and pitched the complete game in the opener Friday with Wilson smacking two hits and driving in one during the win. Stephanie Santoro went the distance in the nightcap, allowing just two hits in 10 innings, and scored the winning run in the bottom of the 10th on a double by Fran Piazza.
Queens also split a two-game set against C.W. Post March 25, winning the opener 1-0 on a Santoro shutout, while dropping the nightcap, 3-2.
St. John’s 7, Rutgers 1. Courtney Fitzgerald pitched a three-hitter and Megan Oliver added a bases-clearing triple in a five-run fifth inning for the Red Storm (14-14, 1-1) in its Big East opener Saturday in Piscataway, N.J.
Rutgers 2, St. John’s 0. Jenny Card’s two-run single in the bottom of the first inning gave Rutgers (12-9, 1-1) a split in the nightcap.
Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by email at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.