The St. Thomas Aquinas College men's basketball team fell to a 67-64 defeat in an East Coast Conference game at Daemen College. The loss was the fourth straight for the Spartans, who now stand at 10-4 overall and 5-2 in conference play, with Daemen improving to 9-5, 3-3.
Despite playing without the services of Justin Reyes, Aaron Cust, and Adam Koziol due to injury, the Spartans battled through an evenly-played first half, with neither team leading by more than four and STAC holding a 30-29 edge at the break.
Shaq McFarlan's three-pointer capped an 11-3 run to start the second, giving the visitors the game's largest lead at 41-32. That would not last, however, as Supreme Hannah's three-point play put Daemen ahead at 46-45 with 11:35 left. After several lead changes, Jaleo Wilkes and Jeff Redband hit consecutive treys in an 11-4 burst to stake the hosts to a 62-55 gap with just over five minutes remaining.
STAC chipped away as free throws by Jon Lawton and Chaz Watler were followed by a Jules de Courtenay lay-up, cutting the deficit to 63-62 with 1:10 to play. Forced to foul in the waning seconds, the Spartans did have one final chance to tie the score, but James Mitchell's three-point attempt was off the mark, giving the Wildcats the narrow victory.
Watler led all scorers with 19 points, McFarlan had 12 and de Courtenay 11 for the Spartans, while Hannah and Deion Hamilton paced the Wildcats with 15 each. STAC outrebounded the hosts by a 36-28 cushion, but it was not enough to stop their recent skid.
The Spartans look to get back on track with four of their next five games at Aquinas Hall, starting this Saturday, January 7, when Queens College visits for an ECC tussle. Game time is approximately 3:00 pm, as the back end of a double-header starting with the women's contest at 1:00 pm.