By Dylan Butler
After back-to-back losses by a combined three points, the Queens College men's basketball team saw its 10-point second half lead evaporate and the Knights needed a jump start to avoid falling into the middle of the pack of the New York Athletic Collegiate Athletic Conference.Washington provided that spark, stripping New Haven guard Bryan Moriarty at midcourt and scoring an uncontested layup en route to a 60-57 win Saturday at Fitzgerald Gymnasium in Flushing.After Clyde Chapman's baseline jumper that ended a nearly six minute scoreless drought, Washington's steal triggered an 8-0 run, that included an acrobatic layup by Lance Hazel, to put Queens (10-3, 8-2 NYCAC) in front 58-50 with 3:17 left in the game.The difference down the stretch was the Knights heightened defensive intensity.”The sense of urgency started to set in,” Washington said. “The last two games, we didn't finish the game and we didn't want to do that this time. We knew we had to do something to stop that from reoccurring.”John Sikiric scored a game-high 17 points and had four rebounds, four blocks and four steals and Chapman added eight points off the bench for Queens, which remained tied for second in the league with Bridgeport, one game behind league-leading Adelphi. The Knights square off with Adelphi Saturday in Garden City, L.I.”I didn't care how we won, if we won by one point or three points or 20 points, as long as we got the win,” Sikiric said. “The last two games we lost we were just worrying about how we were looking instead of just getting the 'W.'”After falling behind early, Queens led the rest of the first half and led by nine at the half on five straight points by Sikiric. The Knights led by as many as 10 midway through the second half but New Haven (3-9, 2-7) rallied to tie it at 50 on a layup by Haggai Hundert.The Chargers got within one, 58-57 on a bucket by Brett Carmichael with 19 seconds left. But Washington sealed the game with a pair of free throws with 14.4 seconds remaining. Jamaal Brooks' off-balance attempted game-tying 3-pointer from the right wing rimmed out with 2.3 seconds left.”Since October 15 we've been doing everything we're supposed to and now all of a sudden we don't. I don't understand why,” Queens coach Kyrk Peponakis said. “I don't want to pat them on the back but I'm very proud of the fact that we got out to nine wins out of the first 12.”Bridgeport 71, Queens College 69. Ramel Allen's putback with 6.7 seconds left in the second half gave visiting Bridgeport (9-3, 7-2) the win last Thursday at Fitzgerald Gymnasium. Hazel had a chance to tie the game, but his running one-hander with two seconds left rimmed out.Shaun Bertin and Sikiric scored 19 points apiece. Bertin also graded 12 rebounds to record his second straight double-double for Queens, which hosts Dowling Thursday before playing at Adelphi Saturday.Reach Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.