The St. Thomas Aquinas College men's basketball team rolled to a 97-74 triumph over New York Institute of Technology in an East Coast Conference battle at Aquinas Hall. The Spartans, ranked #3 in the East Region in the first official NCAA poll of the season, improved to 22-6, with a 13-3 ECC mark. With the loss, NYIT has now dropped 12 straight to fall to 3-24, 1-14.
Prior to the start of the contest, STAC standout Justin Reyes was presented an award by ECC Commissioner Dr. Robert Dranoff in recognition of the senior's status as the conference's all-time leader in points and rebounds. He also entered the game as the third-highest scorer in St. Thomas Aquinas College history.
Shaq McFarlan's hoop opened the scoring and Jamar Sudan added a pair from the line, but Laurynas Stonkus hit from deep as the Bears answered to take a 5-4 lead. The Spartans' lead remained a narrow 11-10 after five minutes of action, but James Mitchell and Sudan heated up from the field to spark a 13-5 run to give the hosts a 23-14 advantage. Reyes took charge in the later stages of the half, and the Spartans cruised into intermission with a 51-31 gap.
Stonkus opened the second-half with another trey, but STAC followed with a 14-2 run, opening a 65-36 gap that provided more than enough cushion. While NYIT did rally to close the margin to as little as 16, they never seriously threatened the rest of the way.
Mitchell led four STAC players in double-figures with a game-high 20 points, Reyes and Sudan added 19 each, and McFarlan posted 12. Jeffrey Hayden paced four Bears in double-figures with 15, while Stonkus chipped in 14. The Spartans owned a 35-27 rebounding advantage, and forced 20 turnovers while yielding just 12.
The Spartans have just two games remaining in the regular-season, traveling to face LIU Post on Saturday, February 17, before hosting the University of the District of Columbia for Senior Day at Aquinas Hall on Saturday, February 24.