CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Queens University senior guard Jarrett Stokes sank three free throws inside the final 17 seconds to lift the Royals to a 75-73 victory past Anderson in the regular-season finale for both teams Saturday night at Curry Arena.
Anderson (20-8, 15-7), which wrapped up the regular season by winning two of its last three, secured the No. three seed in Wednesday’s Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Tournament quarterfinals and will host Queens (14-12, 12-10) at the Abney Athletic Center. Tip-off for the third meeting this season between the two teams is slated for 7 p.m. The Trojans edged Queens 85-84 in late January at the Abney Center on senior guard Chandler Hash’s 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds remaining.
Prior to this season, the Trojans and Royals had not met since the 2009-10 campaign when both were members of Conference Carolinas, but have squared off on 28 occasions overall, with Queens holding a 20-8 advantage in the all-time series.
Lincoln Memorial, which claimed the regular-season title, is the top seed in the tourney and will host No. 8 seed Wingate, which has won the last two SAC Tournaments. Carson-Newman won at Newberry on Saturday to clinch the bracket’s No. 2 seed and will host seventh-seeded Coker in the quarterfinals. AU and Lenoir-Rhyne both finished 15-7 in the SAC and split their head-to-head meetings. Anderson claimed the event’s No. 3 seed, however, because of its 1-1 record against LMU, while Lenoir-Rhyne went 0-2 against the Railsplitters and will be the No. 4 seed. L-R will play host to fifth-seeded Newberry, which concluded the regular season 18-8 overall and 14-8 against the league.
Hash led all scorers with 31 points tonight, as the sharpshooter went 10-of-17 from the field and was 5-of-10 from beyond the arc. Junior guard Alani Adekambi added a season-high 10 points off the bench. Junior center Chris Ross netted eight points and pulled down a team-high seven rebounds, while junior guard Myson Jones scored seven points and dished out a game-high six assists.
Senior forward Brent Evans led the Royals with a double-double, scoring 16 points and grabbing a game-high 13 rebounds. Stokes finished with 13 points and junior guard Trey Ervin chipped in 13 points for Queens.
The game featured eight ties and nine lead changes, including six inside the final seven minutes.
Neither team was able to build more than a nine-point advantage, with the Trojans claiming the early lead and holding the edge for the first six-plus minutes. A Stokes’ 3-pointer gave Queens its first lead, at 10-9, with 13:37 left in the opening half and less than two minutes later, the Royals gained their largest lead of the contest, at 14-9.
But Adekambi and Hash combined for five unanswered points to quickly even the score and the lead changed hands four times in the next two minutes.
Leading by one with just more than three minutes remaining in the opening frame, AU junior guard Nick Jackson fueled an 8-0 run by scoring five points and the Trojans took a 36-27 halftime advantage.
The Royals stayed within striking distance and used a late 9-1 surge to take their first lead, 63-61, since midway through the first half.
With the two teams trading free throws and 3-pointers down the stretch, Queens managed to hold off the Trojans on Stokes’ accuracy at the stripe.
2014 Food Lion SAC Men’s Basketball Championship
Quarterfinals – March 5
No. 8 Wingate at No. 1 Lincoln Memorial, 8 p.m.
No. 7 Coker at No. 2 Carson-Newman, 8 p.m.
No. 6 Queens at No. 3 Anderson, 7 p.m.
No. 5 Newberry at No. 4 Lenoir-Rhyne, 8 p.m.
Semifinals – March 8
No. 1/No. 8 vs. No. 4/No. 5, Noon
No. 2/No. 7 vs. No. 3/No. 6, 2:30 p.m.
Final – March 9
Semifinal 1 winner vs. Semifinal 2 winner, 1 p.m.