The St. Thomas Aquinas College men's basketball team won its seventh of eight games overall with a 72-67 decision over #12 ranked LeMoyne College at Aquinas Hall. The Spartans now stand a 7-3 overall (7-1 in East Regional competition), with LeMoyne falling to 8-2 in suffering its first regional setback.
James Mitchell led four Spartans in double-figures with 16 points with Justin Reyes adding 15 and a game-high nine rebounds. Robert Jones III paced the Dolphins with a game-high 17 points, while Anthony Richards chipped in 14.
Richards jump-started the visitors with a pair of three-pointers wrapped around a Shaq McFarlan trey for STAC as the teams traded leads in the opening minutes. The Spartans held LeMoyne without a field goal for over three minutes as a 7-1 run gave the hosts a 14-9 gap. Richards hit again from deep to tie the score at 19-19 with just under eight minutes in the half, but after a pair of Ty Rolon foul shots gave the Dolphins a 23-21 edge, STAC answered with an 11-2 burst with Cam Murrell's three point play making the tally 32-25.
Tyree Chambers hit from deep to draw LeMoyne to 34-32 at halftime, but hoops from Murrell and Jules de Courtenay provided a quick answer. The trend continued with St. Thomas Aquinas holding a narrow advantage until CJ Asuncion-Byrd knotted the contest at 48-48 with 12:12 left. Reyes converted a three-point play seconds later to kick off a 14-3 outburst, with a McFarlan layup making the score 62-51 with 5:37 left.
Jones III brought the Dolphins to within 70-67 with a three with 32 seconds left, and Mitchell missed the front end of a one-and-one to give LeMoyne daylight. With time winding down, Jones III's game-tying attempt was off the mark, and McFarlan hit a pair from the line with 4.4 seconds on the clock to seal the victory.
STAC shot 52% from the field (26-50) while holding the Dolphins to 45% (22-49), and also led at the foul line by an 89% (16-18) to 72% (13-18) margin. LeMoyne held the advantage in caroms by a 30-25 total. McFarlan had 12 points and Murrell added 10 in support for St. Thomas Aquinas.
The Spartans start their East Coast Conference slate with their next three games in a row - all on the road - staring on Friday, December 8 at Daemen College at 8:00 pm. They face Roberts Wesleyan on Sunday, December 10 at 2:00 pm before traveling to Molloy on Saturday, December 16. They return home the next day to face Holy Family University in a 2:00 tip at Aquinas Hall on December 17.