The St. Thomas Aquinas College men's basketball team completed a winning weekend with an 86-66 victory over St. Michael's College in the ECC/NE-10 Challenge at Aquinas Hall. The Spartans are now 2-2 on the season, with St. Michael's falling to 0-2.
Shaquille McFarlan led the STAC attack with 20 points, and Justin Reyes added 17 points while grabbing 17 rebounds in the victory. Levi Holmes III paced the Purple Knights, leading all scorers with 27 points.
After an early exchange of leads, McFarlan capped off an 8-0 Spartans run to grab a 20-13 advantage midway through the first half. STAC's defense continued to clamp down, allowing just one field goal in over seven minutes of play to open the margin to 32-18, and a late three by Chris Atkinson stroked a late three to give STAC a 41-27 lead at intermission.
Though the lead grew to 16 points, the Purple Knights made a run on the strength of Holmes' three-point prowess, part of a 14-2 run that closed the margin to 45-41 Zach Rzwenicki broke that skid with a trey and James Mitchell followed with another, and quickly the lead was back to double-digits. From there, SMC was only able to get as close as 58-51, only to be followed by a 12-4 STAC run that secured the win.
In addition to McFarlan and Reyes, J.R. Connell chipped in 10 points. STAC shot 53% from the field (32-60) while holding the visitors to just 34% (23-67). The Spartans also enjoyed a 45-35 margin in rebounds on the afternoon.
The Spartans return home on Wednesday, hosting Jefferson University (formerly Philadelphia University) in a big East region match-up. Double-header action begins when the Lady Spartans (2-0) take on the University of New Haven starting at 5:30 pm.