The St. Thomas Aquinas College men's basketball team shook off a slow start to roll to a 98-74 victory at New York Institute of Technology in an East Coast Conference contest. The Spartans have now won 10 of their last 11 games overall to improve to 1-4, with a 6-1 conference mark. NYIT saw its record drop to 3-16, 1-7
After rallying for a 78-75 overtime victory at the University of the District of Columbia on Saturday, the Spartans again struggled in the early going at NYIT. An exchange of hoops left the score tied at 4-4, the Bears were sparked by seven points from Luis Cartagena in a 12-1 run, opening a 16-5 lead. Justin Reyes, JR Connell and Chris Atkinson combined on a 10-0 run to draw the margin to one. The hosts answered with four points of their own, but STAC roared to a 21-6 outburst and carried a 49-34 advantage into the locker room at halftime.
NYIT was only able to draw as close as 13 in the second half at 60-47, but a 20-5 string from that point was more than enough to lead the visitors to their third straight victory and close to within just 1/2 game of idle Bridgeport in the ECC Men's Basketball standings.
In a foul-filled game, Shaq McFarlan played just 20 minutes while scoring a game-high 22 points, with Justin Reyes contributing 20, Chris Atkinson 12, and Jamar Sudan 11. Cartegena and Jeffrey Hayden tied for high game with 16 each for NYIT. The Spartans forced 27 turnovers and shot an impressive 81% from the line on the night (21-for-26).
The Spartans return home to host LIU Post in an East Coast Conference showdown on Saturday, January 20 at Aquinas Hall. Tip time is set for 3:00 pm as the back end of a double-header following the women's teams starting at 1:00 pm. That starts a string in which they will play five of their next six games at home.