The St. Thomas Aquinas College men's basketball team hits the road this weekend to tip off the 2019-20 season. The Spartans, selected 2nd in the East Coast Conference preseason coaches' poll, are looking to reclaim the ECC Tournament title, which went to top pick Daemen last season, snapping STAC's string of three straight championships.
One streak that did remain intact last season was the team's fourth straight trip to the NCAA Tournament, where the Spartans won thrilling contests over LeMoyne College and Dominican College before falling to host St. Anselm in the East Region Final, ending the season with a 25-7 overall mark and 15-3 record in ECC play.
While the Spartans will certainly feel the loss of Kam Murrell, a total of 10 players return from last years squad, many of whom were instrumental in getting STAC to within one win of their second trip to the Elite Eight in three years. The bulk of last season's starting lineup returns, featuring junior Kevin Lynch (7.8 ppg, 7.1 rpg), and sophomores Osbel Caraballo (13.2 ppg, 6.9 rpg) and Demetre Roberts (11.8 ppg, ECC Rookie of the Year). Junior Sekou Cisse (11.0 ppg, 7.1 rpg) and sophomore Jamar Sudan (8.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg) also earned significant time as part of the starting five.
Other returnees from last year's young crew include redshirt junior Louis Griffith, junior Zach Rzewnicki, sophomores Kobe Opoku, Marcus Stevens, Grant Singleton. A trio of freshmen are also expected to make an impact, including DeVante Jamison, Brandon Smith, and Avante Gilbert.
St. Thomas Aquinas tips off the season in tournament action at the University of the Sciences, taking on the hosts on Saturday, November 9 at 7:00 pm before squaring off with Stonehill College on Sunday, November 10. Other non-conference opponents which will have regional implications include Bloomfield, Dominican, Jefferson, Saint Rose and Adelphi as well as a big match-up against Findlay (Ohio). Among the perennial top tier of ECC foes, the Spartans will take on the aforementioned Daemen, along with the University of Bridgeport, and Molloy.
The Spartans play their first four games of the 2019-20 season on the road before opening up at Aquinas Hall, hosting Adelphi University on Wednesday, November 20.