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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Missed Opportunities Result in 70-68 Firebirds Loss to Queens

WASHINGTON, DC – Missed opportunities in the final three minutes of play resulted in a very narrow, 70-68 loss for the University of the District of Columbia against East Coast Conference foe, Queens College on Wednesday night at UDC Gym.
This marks the fourth straight loss for the Firebirds (2-14, 1-7 ECC) and the third time this season they have lost by two or less. Queens has now won its last two games and improved to 4-12 overall and 4-4 in league play.
Junior transfer guard Michael Terry (Criminal Justice – Philadelphia, PA/Boston U) led the Firebirds with game-highs of 25 points and 11 rebounds. He also added three assists as he played all 40 minutes for a depleted Firebirds squad. Sophomore forward Florent Pontens (Business Management – Tarbes, France/Cheshire Academy) added 12 points off the bench, senior transfer forwardD'Angelo Johnson (Mass Media – Washington, DC/Virginia St.) registered 10 points and eight rebounds, and senior guard Keith Brooks (Journalism – Queens, NY/Monsignor McClancy HS) added 10 points as well.
George Holmes led the way for Queens with 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field while also pitching in four assists and a game-high four steals. Daniel Watson had a team-high six rebounds while also adding 12 points, Patrick Modzelewski pitched in 10 points and five boards, and point guard Patrick Parker finished with 11 points and a game-high five assists.
District of Columbia led by two with 4:16 left to play in regulation after a pair of made free-throws by Terry, but Abe Akanmu's layup tied the game with just under three minutes to play. On the ensuing Firebirds possession, junior transfer point guard Quasim Jones (Business Management – Philadelphia, PA/Johnson CC) found an open Pontens right in front of the basket, but Pontens lost the handle as he attempted a two-handed slam, and Akanmu came away with the defensive rebound. The Knights stormed right back down the court and Watson made an easy layup to give Queens a 68-66 lead at the 2:20 mark.
District of Columbia's next two offensive possessions resulted in a missed jumper and an offensive charge as Akanmu's third straight bucket put the Knights in front by four, 70-66 with just over a minute to play. Pontens would sink a pair of free-throws to bring the Firebirds within two with 50 ticks remaining, and aggressive defense by District of Columbia would force Queens into a turnover with 20 seconds left on the clock. Keith Brooks took off with the ball from the three-point line, but his two-handed overhead pass was not in the direction of any Firebird player and bounced out of bounds with just eight seconds left.
Following a timeout by District of Columbia, the Firebirds immediately fouled Akanmu after the inbounds pass at the six second mark. Akanmu missed the front-end of a one-and-one, and D'Angelo Johnson corralled the rebound and immediately called timeout. When play resumed, the Firebirds inbounded to Jones, who rushed up the court and forced a tough, running jumper that rimmed out as Queens escaped with a two-point victory.
Queens out-shot District of Columbia 50-percent to 43-percent from the field and 36-percent to 23-percent from three-point range for the night. The Knights erased a three-point halftime deficit (37-34) by making four more field goals (14-of-29 FG to 10-of-29 FG) and outscoring the Firebirds 36-31 in the second half.
District of Columbia at one point erased a nine-point second-half deficit by out-scoring Queens, 18-5 over a period of six minutes and taking a 62-58 lead with 8:22 to play. However, a three-pointer by Patrick Parker and later, a costly technical foul assessed to the Firebirds would turn the tide in the Knights' favor and help them regain a two-point lead.
The Firebirds will now trek up to Rochester, NY for a showdown with ECC newcomer, Roberts Wesleyan on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m.

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