The St. Thomas Aquinas College men's basketball team overcame a nine-point second-half deficit to post a 72-64 win in a non-conference battle at University of the Sciences. The Spartans, who started the week in the Top 20 in a pair of national polls, rebounded from their one-point loss to Bloomfield to improve to 6-1 overall, with USciences falling to 2-5.
After yielding the game's first four points, STAC roared back to score the next 12, with their lead stretching to as many as nine points midway through the first half. The hosts gained the momentum, however, with Paddy Casey's jumper tying the score at 31-31 before Demetre Roberts answered in the final seconds to provide the Spartans a narrow 33-31 advantage at intermission.
A Roberts three-pointer staked St. Thomas Aquinas to a 38-35 lead two minutes after the break, but the Devils roared back with a 15-3 outburst, taking a 50-41 lead on a Sean Simon basket just short of the midway point of the half. Louis Griffith scored four points as part of an 8-0 response to draw the visitors to within one, but USciences held a 55-49 edge with just under seven minutes to play.
From there, Griffith and Roberts took charge, along with a stifling STAC defense. A Griffith three-pointer gave STAC the lead at 60-59 with 3:44 left, and an Osbel Caraballo three-point play and four free throws from Roberts helped to extend the lead to the final buzzer. Roberts led all scorers with 19 points, with Griffith adding 17 and Sekou Cisse posting 11. Tanner Kerr led three Devils in double-figures with 17 points.
The Spartans tip off their East Coast Conference schedule with a trip to Mercy College on Wednesday, December 5, as the back end of a double-header starting with the women's game at 5:00 pm. They return to Aquinas Hall for a rematch of last season's conference championship game, hosting Bridgeport on Saturday, December 8. Men's action will start at approximately 3:00 pm, after the women's teams square off at 1:00.