The St. Thomas Aquinas College men's basketball team battled to a 71-63 comeback win over Wilmington University in the STAC Tip-off Classic at Aquinas Hall. The contest was the season opener for both squads.
After a slow offensive start which saw both teams scoreless more than two minutes into the game, the Spartans exploded on a 15-5 run over the next three minutes to jump out to a double-digit lead. STAC proceeded to endure another offensive drought, with Wilmington reeling off the next 14 points to claim the lead. Denzil Haynes hit a jumper in the final minute of the half, giving the Wildcats a narrow 33-32 edge at intermission.
With the score tied at 35-35, Tyler Norwood's three-pointer capped an 11-3 Wilmington run, giving the visitors their largest margin at 46-38 with 14:35 left. Permieter shooting woes plagued the Spartans throughout the evening, but it was the defense which turned the tide down the stretch. The hosts held WilmU off the board for over six minutes as Zachary Rzewnicki hit a pair of treys in a 12-0 run, giving the Spartans a 64-56 lead with 3:31 remaining. STAC was not threatened from there in securing the decision.
Jamar Sudan paced St. Thomas Aquinas with 15 points and 10 rebounds, newcomer Osbel Caraballo chipped in 12 points and 12 rebounds, and Rzewnicki came off the bench to add 11. Jermaine Head led all scorers with 23 for the Wildcats, with Haynes chipping in 14 and a game-high 15 caroms.
The Spartans wrap up their opening weekend with a tough regional test against Stonehill College, with both teams coming in a 1-0 after the Skyhawks' convincing 87-61 victory over UDC in Saturday's finale.