The St. Thomas Aquinas College men's basketball team rode Justin Reyes' 37 points and 15 rebounds to a 95-84 East Coast Conference win over Queens College at Aquinas Hall. The Spartans are now 11-4 overall and 6-2 in ECC play, dropping Queens to 7-7, 4-3.
Just three days after missing Wednesday's 67-64 loss at Daemen due to injury, Reyes came out with a purpose, as his career high points total was the highest for the Spartans since Justin Brown poured in 37 in a 106-105 triple overtime loss at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez on November 10, 2012. It was the highest total recorded in regulation at STAC since at least the 2008-09 season.
Diego Maldonado's early three gave the Knights an 8-5 edge, but Shaq McFarlan's trey put the hosts up by an 11-10 count as the teams traded leads. The score was tied on six occasions and neither team held a lead in excess of three points until Jon Lawton's jumper from deep gave STAC a 32-28 margin with 4:41 left.
Reyes and Aaron Cust hit back-to-back buckets to extend the lead to 42-31, but a Malcolm Moore three at the buzzer drew the visitors to within 44-38 at intermission. After neither team scored for the first 1:41 of the second half, the pace picked up in a session dominated by Reyes and his Queens counterpart, Tyree White.
Queens drew as close as five points early in the second, with White providing some artistic hoops, but each time the Spartans would answer in the form of Reyes, who was practically unstoppable with 26 in the second half alone on 8-of-11 shooting from the field, a perfect 10-of-10 from the line, and nine rebounds to complete the picture.
Jon Lawton added 15 points in a supporting role and McFarlan added 10, while White paced four Knights in double-figures with 24 points. STAC owned a 38-25 rebounding edge and turned the ball over just nine times on the afternoon to secure the win.
The Spartans play three of their next four at Aquinas Hall, starting with a big non-conference regional match-up against Southern New Hampshire University on Monday, January 9 at 7:00 pm, before a return to ECC play on Wednesday, January 11, vs. Mercy College at 7:30.