The St. Thomas Aquinas College men's basketball team fell to a 94-93 defeat in a big East Region matchup against Bloomfield College at Aquinas Hall. The setback was the first of the season for the Spartans, who fell to 5-1 overall, while Bloomfield won its second straight to improve to 2-3 on the season. The contest was also a rematch of last season's NCAA Tournament East Region quarter-final, taken by Bloomfield in a 91-78 decision.
In a high-tempo game from the outset, neither squad established control as the score was tied on 12 occasions with 22 lead changes. Bloomfield scored the first six points but a 10-2 answer from the Spartans put them on top for the first time at 10-8. Louis Griffith hit a three and Demetre Roberts scored late to allow STAC a 52-45 advantage at halftime.
Bloomfield answered quickly, drawing within one on a pair of treys from Keith Washington in the first minute after intermission. The Spartans matched their biggest lead at 73-66 when Osbel Caraballo scored from in close with 11:15 left, but Matt Lajeunesse scored to close a 9-0 run as the Bears jumped on top with 9:24 to play. Neither team led by more than four the rest of the way, as Caraballo put the hosts back on top from downtown at 88-87 with 2:13 left.
After an exchange of baskets, Jahaud Lowber hit one of two from the line, tying the score at 90-90 with 55 seconds on the clock. Caraballo hit one of two at the stripe two second later, but Keith Washington's off-balance runner with 42 to go left the visitors on top to stay at 92-91, though the affair was far from over. Demetre Roberts missed from in close and Lowber sank a pair with 10.2 remaining. Roberts was fouled and converted two with 5.2 left, and Washington was put on the line with 4.3 on the clock.
Washington missed both ends and Caraballo grabbed the rebound, but as he started the charge in the other direction, he briefly lost possession, regaining too late to attempt a desperation jam at the final buzzer.
Each team had six scorers in double-figures, with Caraballo pacing STAC with 19, Roberts adding 16, and Sekou Cisse chipping in 14. Washington led all scorers for Bloomfield with 21, and Kavione Green added 18.
The Spartans hope to get back on the winning track with a trip to Philadelphia to play University of the Sciences on Saturday, December 1, at 2:00 pm. They travel to Mercy to open the East Coast Conference slate on December 5 before returning to Aquinas Hall for a showdown with the University of Bridgeport on Saturday, December 8 at 3:00 pm.