The St. Thomas Aquinas College men's basketball team shook off a rough start to rally for an 81-68 victory at Goldey-Beacom College. The victory was the fourth straight - keeping their record against regional foes perfect - as the Spartans improved to 4-2 overall while dropping GBC to 0-3 on the season.
If STAC thought the trip to Delaware would result in an easy win, they were brought up short quickly as the Lightning lived up to their name, firing five three pointers to open leads of 15-2, and 18-4, after less than five minutes of play. Troy Stancil hit three from beyond the arc and Mahir Johnson added two as the hosts stunned the Spartans early.
From there, however, the Spartans asserted control, as Justin Reyes hit the next four straight points and Chris Atkinson added eight as part of a 12-2 run, closing the margin to 20-16. P.J. Alkins and Atkinson each hit from deep in a 14-1 STAC run to give the visitors their first lead at 38-31 with 3:33 left in the first half.
St. Thomas Aquinas held a 40-34 lead at halftime and continued to create distance with Kevin Lynch's layup making the tally 56-42 with 14 minutes to play. Goldey-Beacom did make one more push, with an 8-0 run closing the deficit to 66-59 with 6:44 left. That was as close as they were to get, as James Mitchell drained six consecutive free throws in the final minutes to seal the victory.
Reyes led all scorers with 23 points to go with a game-high 16 rebounds, Atkinson poured in 20 off the bench while Mitchell added 19 for STAC. Stancil led four Lightning in double-figures with 18, with Johnson adding 17 in a losing cause.
The Spartans now enter perhaps their toughest stretch of the regular season, starting on Tuesday, November 21, when University of the Sciences visits Aquinas Hall for a 7:00 pm start. STAC then travels to play Stonehill on Sunday, November 26 at 1:30 pm, then Bloomfield on Wednesday, November 29. Last year's top regional seed, LeMoyne College, will then pay a call on Tuesday, December 5, in the last contest before the Spartans begin East Coast Conference play at Daemen College on Friday, December 8.