By Thomas Scavetta
Assistant Sports Editor
Despite a 20-point effort from Molloy guard Curtis Jenkins, the Pioneers (14-10) survived a last-second scare as they held on to beat Molloy College (6-16) on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 60-57, in an East Coast Conference battle at the Pratt Recreation Center in Brookville, N.Y.
With just 27 seconds to go, sophomore forward Hunter Powell cashed in the go-ahead put-back lay-up to give the Pioneers a 56-54 edge. Junior guard Jared Hall eventually put the game to sleep as he knocked down four straight free throws, snapping a five-game skid.
In a closely contested game, the Pioneers used the three-ball to gain momentum in the second half and take a 54-47 lead. Senior guard Akosa Maduegbunam provided a spark off the bench, draining two of his three trifectas during that stretch as guards Devon McMillan and Aary Bibens were both sidelined, leaving the Pioneers thin in the backcourt.
Molloy refused to go away quietly as they responded with a 7-0 burst of their own with 2:31 to go in regulation. Senior guard Brandon Williams who tallied 18 points for the evening, splashed in a pair of free throws to tie the game at 54 apiece.
Hall continued his breakout-campaign for the Pioneers, logging 24 points and nine rebounds. Senior guard Dillon Burns racked up 12 points, eight assists and four boards. Junior forward Greg Dotson scored a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Defensively, the Pioneers held the visitors to just 27 percent shooting from the field and only 24 percent from downtown.
The Pioneers returned to the floor on Saturday, Feb. 13, where they came up short against Queens College (8-12) in another ECC tilt, 76-65, at Fitzgerald Gymnasium.
Although the Pioneers trailed throughout most of the game, they eclipsed an 8-0 spurt to tie the game at 42-all at the 13:54 mark of the latter stanza. Dotson paved the way with three consecutive baskets and Burns buried a jumper to even things up.
However, Queens re-fueled themselves and pushed the pedal to the medal, taking a 65-53 lead, pulling away from the visitors.
Queens guard Simon Green finished with 20 points off the bench to lead all scorers. For the Pioneers, Burns collected 13 points before fouling out. The visitors struggled from the field, shooting just 33 percent and 16 percent from downtown.
Head Coach Erik Smiles and his Pioneer squad now drop to 9-7 in ECC play and look to rebound Friday, Feb. 19, versus Daemen College in Amherst, N.Y. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.