Spartans Open Strong; Down Nyack, 82-66 in Home, Season Debut
The St. Thomas Aquinas College men's basketball team took full advantage of home court in their season opener, downing local rival Nyack College by a score of 82-66. Justin Brown led the way for STAC, pacing all scorers with 19 points while Nick Lopez added 18 in a balanced effort.
STAC bolted from the gate to an early 20-7 lead but the visiting Warriors (0-3) closed the gap to just three. Undaunted, the Spartans answered the bell and went to the locker room with a 42-27 halftime lead, largely on the strength of 5-for-10 shooting from behind the three point line. An early burst in the second frame extended the edge to 17, and while Nyack closed to within nine shortly thereafter, the hosts were never seriously threatened.
Eleven different Spartans hit the scoresheet, with Brown (8-for-15 from the field), Lopez (6-11), and Omar Kellman (11 points, 4-4 shooting) setting the pace. Lopez was also strong on the glass with nine boards, and STAC recorded 17 assists overall to just 12 turnovers on the evening.
Khalid Samuels led three Nyack players in double-figures with 14 points, with Ryan Woodard (13) and Jose Pena-Benjamin also contributing. Woodard also cleared a game-high 11 rebounds, while Maliek Patterson came off the bench to record five blocks.
These teams will face a rare non-conference rematch in just three days, as the Spartans and Warriors will do battle in the first round of the Dominican College Tournament this Friday, November 18, at 5:30 pm. That will mark the first game of a tough five-game road swing for STAC's men's squad before they return to Aquinas Hall to host Queens College in their East Coast Conference opener on Wednesday, December 7. Tip-off time for that game is set for 7:30 pm after the women's contest, and both games will be carried live on New Media Television Sports.