The St. Thomas Aquinas College men's basketball team, ranked #5 in the nation, grabbed a 75-64 victory at LIU Post in an East Coast Conference battle. STAC remains perfect at 8-0 overall and 3-0, in ECC action, while Post dropped to 2-7, 1-1. The Spartans, ranked #5 in the nation in weekly polling by the NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches) and D2SIDA (Division II Sports Information Directors Association), have now won 26 consecutive regular season games, and 21 straight against conference foes.
Justin Reyes led the way with a game-high 26 points, and James Mitchell and Jon Lawton added 15 each. Hall Elisias was strong for the Pioneers with 16 points and a game-high 9 rebounds.
LIU Post bolted from the gate quickly, with five different scorers helping the hosts open a 10-5 lead. The Spartans exploded for a 21-3 run on the strength of three Lawton three-pointers to grab a 26-13 advantage, but Kyle McLeggan answered with seven points in an 11-2 Pionner run to narrow the gap to 28-27. Lawton was on the spot again from downtown to close the half on a 12-1 Spartans run, opening a 43-30 cushion at the break.
STAC's lead swelled to as much as 19 at 62-43 midway through the second, but the offense would run dry as the Spartans were unable to score over the next seven minutes. Defense was the key, however, as Post was only able to draw as close as 62-50 before a Mitchell three broke the drought, ending the hosts' hopes for a late comeback.
St. Thomas Aquinas had an uncharacteristically tough night from the field, shooting just 41% (26-63), but the defense held strong, allowing the Pioneers just 39% (19-49). The Spartans were an impressive 13-of-14 from the foul line, led by Reyes hitting on all eight of his attempts.
The Spartans return to Aquinas Hall this Saturday, December 10, hosting New York Institute of Technology in an East Coast Conference battle. Game time is approximately 3:00 pm, as the back end of a double-header with women's action starting at 1:00.