The St. Thomas Aquinas College men's basketball team saw four scorers hit double-figures in a convincing 89-71 victory over Nyack College at Aquinas Hall. The win was the Spartans' fourth straight overall, the program's largest such streak since taking five straight from February 20 thru March 5, 2008. STAC now stands at 4-1 with the non-conference decision, with Nyack dropping to 2-4.
Nyack began the evening on fire thanks to the hot hand of Khalid Samuels, taking an early 9-4 lead. Samuels hit his second trey of the evening just under four minutes into play, giving him 10 points and staking his squad to a 12-8 edge. STAC would clamp down on defense, however, embarking on an 8-2 run to take a 16-14 lead.
St. Thomas Aquinas would gradually begin increasing that lead, with a 10-2 burst opening a 10-point margin at 39-29 with less than three minutes left in the half, en route to a 43-34 edge at the break.
Without the services of starting guard Marcus Henderson for the second straight game, the Spartans found contributions throughout the lineup, using an 11-3 run over the first five minutes of the second half to build a commanding 54-37 bulge. STAC would run that chasm to as many as 23 points and see the gap close to no fewer than 15 in the final minutes as the hosts continued their stellar free throw shooting in icing the contest in a foul-filled final few minutes.
Aaron Cust led the "balanced onslaught" with 21 points, with Chaz Watler and Omar Kellman close behind with 20 each. Kellman also had a game-high 13 rebounds and Sam Wilson chipped in with 14 points. Nyack had four scorers in doubles as well, with Samuels leading the pack with 18, followed by Chris Hampton, Nick Moore (11 each) and Isaiah Roberts (10)
STAC posted an impressive 81% from the free throw stripe on 25-of-31 shooting, while Nyack hit 16 of its last 18 to finish at 67% (25-37). The Spartans dominated the rebounding battle by a 44-27 gap.
After the Thanksgiving break, the Spartans return to action on Saturday, November 30 when they travel to Mercy College for an East Coast Conference showdown. Men's action starts at 2:30 pm as the tail end of a twin-bill following the women's contest. They then return to Aquinas Hall for a non-conference tilt against Felician College on Monday, December 2 at 7:00 pm.
Note - Starting December 2, the annual "Toys for Tots" drive returns to Aquinas Hall. Fans are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy to deposit at the box located in the lobby, to help those in need this holiday season. As always, all contributions are immensely appreciated.