Trey Lower, Staff Writer
Wingate, NC- The Wingate University Men’s basketball team continued its impressive run with an 86-79 upset of then-ranked #6 Queens on Wednesday night. The Bulldogs, which had upset the Royals in Charlotte less than a month earlier, completed a season sweep, and have handed Queens there two only losses of the season. It is the 12th win in the 13 games for the Bulldogs.
Wingate was led by Mike Baez (21 points, 9 rebounds on 7-12 shooting) and Josh Dominguez (22 points, 3 rebounds on 5-15 shooting) in the winning effort. Zeriq Lolar added 16 points and Isiah Cureton added 17 to help aid the ‘Dogs.
“That’s us. That’s been us all season” Coach Brian Good said, referring to the team’s selflessness with the ball. “Our goal is to be a selfless basketball team and share the ball. If we’ve got guys on the floor that can score, if some guys got it going, we try to get them a few more,” Good said,“that’s kind of been our program since I got here. It’s how we’ve tried to win basketball games. I don’t think it’s anything we’ll try to change”.
The game was incredibly physical, and very fast-paced, with players falling all over the floor in attempts to grab loose balls throughout the contest.“Whenever they play us, it’s going to get physical no matter what” forward Mike Baez said.
While the game’s physicality set the tone for the contest, it was the scoring by both teams, especially Wingate, that fueled the game’s result. Wingate (15-8, 12-5 South Atlantic) shot nearly 55% in the first half, but only led the Royals 43-39 at the break, despite just a 16-40 first half shooting effort from Queens (21-2, 15-2 South Atlantic).
The Royals also had four players in double figures, led by forward Daniel Camps (19 points, 8 rebounds on 7-12 shooting).The Bulldogs received a boost from Dominguez and Lolar’s three-point shooting. The two combined to go 7-14 from the three point line, while the rest of the team went 0-6 from beyond the arc. Dominguez also was the team’s leading assister, throwing in four dishes on the night.
The game came right down to the final minute. At the final media timeout, Wingate led 74-72. After some free throws extended Wingate’s lead, the ‘Dogs found themselves leading 82-76 with just about a minute to play. After a big three from the right corner cut it to three, the Bulldogs held the Royals scoreless the rest of the way, hitting four free throws in the final 30 seconds to close out the game.
For Wingate the win continues an impressive 13-game run, with the only hiccup being a close loss to Lincoln Memorial on Saturday.“I thought we played some good basketball on Saturday, we got beat by a good team that made great plays down the stretch” Good said.“Tonight on our home court I thought we made those plays down the stretch to put away their team.”
The recent success moves the Bulldogs one step closer to making the postseason, but Baez warns they can’t get ahead of themselves.“We’ve got to get there first. We started off real slow but we’ve got to get there. Once we get there, I think we can be a contender” Baez said.
The game was tied 10 times, and the lead changed hands 17 times, with Queens biggest lead being seven and Wingate’s eight.Despite Queens taking 71 shots and the Bulldogs only taking 56, the Royals only made one more shot than the Bulldogs, finishing with 30 field goals compared to Wingate’s 29.
Other stats showed just how tightly contested this game was. Queens was 7-22 from three compared to Wingate’s 7-20, and Wingate only outrebounded Queens by three, 39-36. Queens did outrebound the ‘Dogs on the offensive glass however, possessing a 13-7 advantage in that category. Queens went 12-19 from the free throw line, while Wingate was 21-25.Queens finished shooting 42.3%, while Wingate shot nearly 52% for the contest.
The Bulldogs will travel to Brevard on Saturday, looking for their 13th win in 14 games, and a chance to keep their run towards the postseason going.
photo credit by Wingate University Athletics
Edited by: Brea Childs