Despite Justin Brown and James Ocikmey's 15 points each and a frantic second-half rally, the St. Thomas Aquinas College men's basketball team dropped its third straight, falling to Philadelphia University by a score of 71-62. STAC rallied from a 12-point second half deficit to tie the affair at 57-57 with just 4:16 left before fading in the final minutes. With the loss, the Spartans fall to 2-3 on the season while the Rams improve to 2-3.
St. Thomas Aquinas got off to a solid start, holding a 14-13 edge eight minutes into the game on the strength of a pair of Irin Stark three-pointers. The hosts took charge on the strength of an 18-6 tear, leading to a 32-19 Philly lead, though the Spartans battled back to cut the halftime deficit to 36-28. The Rams were torrid on offense in the first half, converting 65% from the field.
More of the same appeared to be in order coming out of the break as Philadelphia U extended their margin to as many as 12 points. The Spartans came back with some fire of their own, however, ripping off a 15-3 run to tie at 55-55. After the teams traded hoops, the hosts turned up the defense and came through in the clutch, making nine of their last 10 free throws to snatch away the victory.
Corey Francisco (19 points) led four Rams in double-figures in scoring, with Nick Schlitzer (18), Nick Christian (14) and Temi Adebayo (12) contributing to the balanced attack. The Rams continued to wield the hot hand, outshooting STAC from the field 54% (25-46) to 46% (23-50). The hosts also enjoyed a 30-25 edge in the rebounding department.
Today's game was the fourth of five straight away from home for the Spartans, as they conclude their trip by taking the turnpike south to meet Wilmington University in Delaware on Wednesday, November 30. They return to Sparkill to host Queens College in their East Coast Conference opener on Wednesday, December 7. Tip-off time for that game is set for 7:30 pm after the women's contest, and both games will be carried live on New Media Television Sports.