The St. Thomas Aquinas College men's basketball team ran to an 85-69 East Coast Conference victory at Queens College, STAC's 10th win in 11 games. The Spartans retain first place in the ECC standings and need just one win in their last two games to ensure at least a share of the regular season championship. STAC has now hit the 20-win plateau in three straight seasons, improving to 20-5, 13-3, with Queens falling to 12-10, 9-6.
Coming off Wednesday's tough loss at Bridgeport, the Spartans stumbled out of the gate, with a Tyree White jumper giving Queens a 12-5 lead just over four minutes into play. Aaron Cust's three-point play and Chaz Watler's bucket from beyond the arc got the visitors rolling as the Spartans turned that seven-point deficit into a 48-38 halftime advantage.
Queens briefly trimmed the margin to as few as eight points twice in the early minutes of the second half, but the Spartans remained in control, with a Cust lay-up capping a 9-2 run and extending the lead to 70-52. Meanwhile, the hosts had no answer for Justin Reyes' dominance throughout, as he posted a game-high 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting from the field to go with seven rebounds and six assists.
Cust recorded 16 points off the STAC bench, Watler poured in 15, and Jules deCourtenay added 11. Diego Maldonado set the pace for Queens with 14, while teammate Kyheim Chaplin chipped in 12. The Spartans forced 23 turnovers while allowing just 12, accounting for a decisive 35-11 disparity in points off TOs.
The Spartans have three regular season games remaining, the next two of which will be at Aquinas Hall. On Wednesday, STAC can clinch a share of the ECC Regular Season Championship with a win against Daemen College, with tip at approximately 7:00 as the back end of a twin-bill with the women's teams. On Saturday, February 18, Georgian Court visits for a 1:00 pm non-conference affair, and the Spartans close at Mercy on Wednesday, February 22.