HARROGATE, Tenn. — The theory that it’s tough to beat a good team three times in a season didn’t hold true for the Queens University basketball team against Lincoln Memorial this year.
Good thing for the Royals that they got a fourth shot at their South Atlantic Conference rival.
Playing with a trip to the NCAA Division 2 Elite Eight on the line, Queens finally beat the Railsplitters on Tuesday in the only meeting that really mattered, ending Lincoln Memorial’s home winning streak at 25 with a 69-57 victory in the Southeast Region title game.
Ike Agusi led four double-figure scorers with 16 points and regional MVP Jalin Alexander added 13 points and four rebounds to help the Royals advance to the national quarterfinals for the third time in the Charlotte school’s history.
Queens (31-3) lost twice to Lincoln Memorial and again in the SAC tournament final. Two of those defeats came by two points or less. Tuesday, the Royals reversed those results by holding the high-scoring Railsplitters to their second-lowest point total of the season.
Lincoln Memorial (32-2) averages 93.2 points per game.
Queens broke the game open with a 13-2 run during a seven-minute stretch midway through the second half, turning a one-point lead into a 63-51 advantage. Lincoln Memorial responded with six straight points to narrow the gap, but Agusi made six straight free throws down the stretch to put the game away.
Unlike Division I, the Division II tournament has eight regional champions play for the title in one central location. Queens will meet California Baptist in Sioux Falls, S.D., next Tuesday.
Barry, East Stroudsburg, Ferris State, LeMoyne, Northern State and West Texas A&M are the other six teams still in contention for the national championship.