First-Half Surge Propels Spartans to 104-90 Victory over Southern New Hampshire

First-Half Surge Propels Spartans to 104-90 Victory over Southern New Hampshire

The St. Thomas Aquinas College men's basketball team ran to a 104-90 victory over Southern New Hampshire University in a non-conference clash at Aquinas Hall. The Spartans won their second game in three days to improve to 12-4 overall, while SNHU saw its three-game winning streak snapped, dropping to 11-3.

STAC set the tone early, with James Mitchell and Jon Lawton hitting consecutive three pointers and Lawton adding another as part of an 18-3 outburst, giving the Spartans an early 23-7 edge. With his fourth trey of the half, Lawton staked his squad to a decisive 30-9 lead just past the midway point of the first half.

With the hosts holding a 45-25 lead in the final minutes, Daquaise Andrews beat the buzzer with a three to cap an 11-4 Penmen response, closing the margin to 49-36 at the break.

Devin Gilligan brought Southern New Hampshire to within 49-39 with an early three, but Mitchell scored the next four as an 8-0 Spartans spurt extended the lead to 57-39. From there, the Penmen threatened to climb back into the contest, cutting the deficit to as little as 11, but each time the hosts would answer.

That would culminate in a spectacular sequence starting with a Justin Reyes steal and counterattack, with Chaz Watler making a jumping cross-court feed to an open Lawton for a trey that opened the gap to 89-68 with 7:06, drawing a rousing ovation from the Aquinas Hall faithful and all but sealing the win.

Lawton led all scorers with 24 points, Reyes added 20, Watler had 17 and Shaq McFarlan recorded 16, while Jule deCourtenay grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds in the team effort. Chris Walters led SNHU with 23 points, with Gilligan chipping in 23. STAC owned a 34-23 rebounding advantage while shooting 59% (37-of-63) from the field.

The Spartans return to action on Wednesday, January 11, hosting Mercy College for an East Coast Conference tilt. Game time is set for approximately 7:30, as the back end of a double-header following the women's game starting at 5:30.