The St. Thomas Aquinas College men's basketball team fell to a 76-67 defeat in a non-conference battle at the University of the Sciences. The Spartans, ranked #9 in the most recent NABC National Poll and #8 in the D2SIDA poll, dropped their second straight to fall to 10-2 on the season, with USciences improving to 4-10.
Returning from the holiday break, both teams battled early with six ties and five lead changes punctuating the opening minutes. Justin Reyes hit a par of free throws to give the Spartans an 18-14 lead with nine minutes left, but Sciences rallied as Jon McGill scored six straight points in an 8-0 run, part of a 13-2 Devils' outburst that would give the hosts a 27-20 advantage.
Fittingly, McGill hit the final bucket of the first half, taking his team to a 34-25 advantage at the break. Shooting woes continued to plague the Spartans in the second stanza, as STAC never drew closer than eight, while watching the deficit increase to as much as 62-46 with seven minutes left. The Spartans rallied to within single digits in the final minute but it proved to be too little, too late.
Justin Reyes was the workhorse for the struggling STAC offense with a game-high 27 points, while McGill paced the home squad with 25 and teammate Flo Da-Silva chipped in 24.
The Spartans will be right back into the line of fire on Saturday, December 31, hosting a New Year's Eve tilt against Bloomfield, with tip time slated for approximately 2:00 pm, after the women's contest against Nyack at noon.