CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The No. 8 Emmanuel College men's basketball team fell 76-72 to the No. 1 Queens University on Saturday night in the NCAA DII Southeast Regional Quarterfinals.
Despite high expectations and home court advantage for the #10 nationally ranked Queens University, the Lions were the ones bringing the pressure.
Emmanuel started off the night with an early lead thanks to a trio of Lions. After eight minutes of holding the lead, the Royals would hit back with 10 straight points to get ahead. Queens largest lead of the night would come shortly after with nine minutes to go in the first half and a score of 22-12. Despite the deficit the Lions maintained their composure and continued to chip away at the Royals lead. Nearing the end of the first half, Senior Austin Greene would drive the ball in to make it a two point game. Freshman Michael Wright would then step up the charity stripe and hit both free throws to tie up the match. With one second left on the clock, Greene knocked down a three-pointer to make it a one point Emmanuel lead going into halftime.
The Lions maintained control of the lead for the majority of the second half while taking advantage of the Royals inability to convert their three-pointers. Greene pitched in another 15 points helping the Lions build their largest lead at 61-53. Now facing the pressure, the Royals began to gather the momentum needed to stay alive. After trailing by eight points, Queens would put up seven straight points to lessen the Lions lead to just one. The teams would continue to exchange leads until the final three minutes, with the Royals on top. The Lions would get within just one point on several occasions, but were eventually forced to foul in the final seconds. Queens hit the necessary free-throws to stay on top and capture the victory, 76-72.
This loss marks the end of the historic Emmanuel men's basketball season. Although their run is over, the Lions have plenty of accomplishments to be proud of. In just their first year of NCAA post-season eligibility, the Lions captured the Conference Carolinas Men's Basketball Championship to advance to the NCAA National Tournament while posting another 20+ win season. Congratulations to the men's basketball team on their impressive season.
For more news on Emmanuel College Athletics, visit goeclions.com.