By Mitch Abramson
Recognizing the urgency of the situation, the Knights went on a pair of long runs before the break. By the time the Knights were done making amends for their poor start, the game was over and Queens had won its fifth in a row, 100-65 at Fitzgerald Gymnasium.”I challenged their pride,” coach Kyrk Peponakis said of the early timeout. “If they can't defend the ball, then we're in trouble. We started a little flat, but I have confidence in my guys, and they responded well after the bad start. It's amazing what happens when you start working the ball inside- it opens shots for everyone on the court.”Bradd Wierzbicki was back in the starting lineup after missing a game with a strained left calf, and he was effective, leading the team with 27 points and six assists despite wearing a large bandage around his injured leg. Senior Shaun Bertin had 16 points and five rebounds, Lance Hazel had 13 points and Clyde Chapman had 11 points and nine rebounds. In a hurry to get back into the game after falling behind 16-6, Queens hoisted up 50 shots in the first half, going 20-of-50. Wierzbicki made three three-pointers in a four minute span to tie the game at 21 with 9:13 left in the half and Anthony Mauceri hit a layup three minutes later to cap off a feverish 21-7 run that gave Queens College the lead 27-23 for good, forcing the Bears into a timeout.”Once we get a team down, we try to step on their throats,” said Hazel, a junior guard. “That team always plays us tough, but we started pounding the ball inside and making some shots and our bench got involved and Bradd stepped up and everyone began contributing.”If any team has given Queens (11-3, 7-0 NYCAC) fits it's been New York Tech (2-11, 1-8), which was led by freshman Bryant Lassiter's 12 points. The Bears lost to Queens College in overtime twice last season after squandering second half leads of 18 points in both instances. Coach Sal Lagano wasn't surprised when Queens College came back again. “You feel as though you're holding back the wall that's holding back the water when you have a lead on Queens College,” he said. “They have a group full of solid veterans who know how to play and defend the ball. They're the strongest team in the division.”Bertin was named NYCAC Player of the Week, the league announced Monday. After playing at St. Thomas Aquinas in a game scheduled for Wednesday night, Queens plays at Bridgeport Saturday.Reach reporter Mitch Abramson by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300 Ext. 130.