A 16-0 run in the first half gave Queens and upper hand that they would never relinquish in an 88-67 win over Lenoir-Rhyne in the South Atlantic Conference Tournament Semifinal. This is the fourth straight year that Lenoir-Rhyne and Queens have met in the SAC Tournament with Queens owning a 3-1 record.
In the first half, a jumper by R.J. Gunn evened the game at eight before the Royals surged ahead with a 16-3 run that pushed the Royals edge to 24-11.
A 3-pointer by Cooper Fowler cut the Queens lead to 26-16 but the Royals responded with 16 unanswered points. The Royals outscored Lenoir-Rhyne 26-2 in the paint in the first half as they took a 52-25 advantage into the break.
Lenoir-Rhyne shot just 21.4 percent from the field in the first half and made just six field goals. On the other end, Queens went 18-for-29 (62 percent) from the floor and 5-of-10 from long range.
Darius Simmons scored 20 of his points in the second half but it was too late. Simmons was 6-of-8 from long range and nearly missed back-to-back 30-point games as he scored 28 points on 8-of-13 shooting. He moved to 27th on the all-time scoring list at Lenoir-Rhyne with his performance.
The Bears outscored Queens 42-36 in the final 20 minutes.
The only other starter to score in the second half was two points from Armon Muldrew.
Jamari Smith led the Royals with 14 points in the second half as eight different players found the scoring column for the hosts.
The 30.6 shooting percentage was the second-lowest of the season for the Bears.
Tyson McClain and R.J. Gunn led the Bears with five rebounds. LR turned the ball over just six times.
Lenoir-Rhyne is 26-23 all-time in South Atlantic Conference Tournament history. The semifinal and final are normally hosted by Furman University but have gone to the higher seed this season
The Bears end the season 9-7 overall and 8-6 in South Atlantic Conference play.