The St. Thomas Aquinas College men's basketball team, ranked #22 in this week's D2SIDA National Poll, won their sixth straight game, an 82-67 East Coast Conference victory at Roberts Wesleyan College. The Spartans, who also received votes in the NABC National Poll, now stand at 16-4 overall and remain in first place in the ECC standings at 9-2, with RWC falling to 2-16, 1-8.
Neither team was able to establish control early, with the lead changing hands on 10 occasions, with Dwayne Roberts giving the Redhawks a 23-20 advantage with 6:48 remaining in the first half. Chaz Watler and James Mitchell got the Spartans offense going with consecutive threes, and Watler scored the final four points in a half-ending 18-4 run, giving STAC a 38-27 advantage after 20 minutes.
Isiah Lewis and Tristan Brown netted consecutive hoops to bring the hosts to within 45-42 with 14:52 left, but Jules de Courtenay quickly answered with a three-point play for the Spartans. The Redhawks closed to within three points on three occasions thereafter, but a 12-4 STAC run opened up a 65-54 advantage with just under seven minutes left and the visitors never looked back.
Watler led all scorers with 21 points, Aaron Cust came off the bench to add a season-high 19, Mitchell posted 14, and McFarlane 10 to pace the STAC attack. Malik Dare kept Roberts Wesleyan in the affair with 17 points on a perfect 8-for-8 from the field in the loss. STAC turned the ball over just eight times on the night, while forcing the Redhawks into 19 miscues.
The Spartans return to ECC action on Saturday, January 28, facing New York Institute of Technology before returning to Aquinas Hall to host LIU Post in a 7:30 start on Wednesday, February 1.