The St. Thomas Aquinas College men's basketball team ended its 2017-18 season with a 91-78 loss to Bloomfield College in the NCAA Division II East Regional at LeMoyne College in Syracuse, NY. The Spartans, ranked #2 in the regional, saw their defense of last season's East Regional title come to an end with a 26-7 overall record while #7 Bloomfield improved to 23-7 and advances to meet #3 seed Merrimack College in tomorrow's semi-finals.
STAC bolted from the gate with James Mitchell hitting a pair of jumpers - one from long range - to give the Spartans an early 5-0 lead. Bloomfield rallied, however, scoring on six consecutive possessions and reeling of a 14-5 run to take a lead they would not relinquish. Ignacio Diez racked up five straight points to expand the gap to 30-14 before the Spartans began to find their stride, with Shaq McFarlan and Mitchell each hitting treys to trim the margin to 46-36 at intermission.
Bloomfield's torrid perimiter shooting continued in the second half, and the three from Safee Abdus-Sabur followed by a Kaivone Green layup exploded the lead to 75-55 with 7:54 left. The Spartans were not quite done, however, as a Justin Reyes three-point play followed by a Mitchell trey touched off a 12-0 outburst, with McFarlan's jumper bringing STAC within striking distance at 75-67 with 5:16 still to play.
The mountain was too steep to climb as Nick Davidson converted from in close and Diez hit a three in response, giving the Bears the cushion they would need to secure the victory. McFarlan led four STAC starters in double-figures with 21, with Reyes (18), Mitchell (17), and Jamar Sudan (10) chipping in. Keith Washington led all scorers with 23 for Bloomfield, with Davidson adding 17.
With the loss, seniors Reyes, Mitchell, McFarlan, Jules deCourtenay and Ross Greenfield each played their final game in Spartan gold, with the program having won an amazing 102 contests over their four seasons, the highest total in the region.