The St. Thomas Aquinas College men's basketball team battled to an 80-66 victory in an East Coast Conference tilt at Queens College. STAC improved to 17-4 overall and back into a first-place tie with Bridgeport at 8-1 in conference play. Queens now stands at 5-11, 3-6 after the defeat in the game that was broadcast on ESPN3.
Strong perimeter lifted Queens early as three different players hit from long range to give the Knights a 9-7 lead four minutes into play. James Mitchell and Shaq McFarlan netted four points each in an 8-0 Spartans run for a 15-9 advantage, but Keenan Gorski's three-pointer drew the hosts to 15-14. The Knights briefly regained the lead at 18-17, but Jusin Reyes capped a 12-3 run to put STAC on top to stay, though the visitors had a narrow 43-37 edge at the halftime break.
Queens battled back to within three early in the second half but St. Thomas Aquinas reeled off a 12-4 burst to open a 60-48 gap midway through the second half. Again, the Knights drew back to 63-57 on a Dwayne Henry trey, but Reyes answered with the next four points as the Spartans captured the hard-fought victory.
Reyes led the way with game highs of 22 points and 14 rebounds, leading four STAC players in double-figures. Kam Murrell added 16 points, Mitchell had 15, and McFarlan 12 in the winning cause. Simon Green and Isaac Grant tied for the lead in scoring for Queens with 11 apiece. STAC had a 45-37 advantage on the glass, and continued to shoot well from the free throw line at 83% (29-35).
The Spartans return home to Aquinas Hall to play their next four straight, starting on Saturday, January 27 when Molloy College visits for the back end of double-header action following the women's teams squaring off. On Tuesday, January 30, STAC hosts Queens for the second meeting in six days between the squads, with Daemen paying a call on Friday, February 2 and Roberts Wesleyan closing out the homestand on Sunday, January 4.