The St. Thomas Aquinas men's basketball team bolted from the gate and cruised to a 93-67 victory over Molloy College in an East Coast Conference battle at Aquinas Hall. The Spartans, ranked #15 in this week's NABC coaches poll and #11 in the D2SIDA National poll, improved to 14-2 overall and moved into sole possession of first place in the ECC standings at 4-0, while Molloy dropped to 6-8, 3-1.
With two of the three remaining undefeated teams in the conference squaring off, the stage was set for a marquee game but the Spartans had other ideas. Riding the high of their incredible shooting performance in Wednesday's 87-72 victory over New Haven, the hosts picked up right where they left off against their heated rivals. Demetre Roberts - who had nine threes against UNH - opened the scoring from deep, and Osbel Caraballo bookended the run with a pair from the line as STAC stormed to a 13-0 lead with less than three minutes elapsed.
Five minutes in, the lead expanded to 17-2 on an Avante Gilbert jumper, but the Lions found their rhythm as threes from Steven Torre and Nick Corbett narrowed the gap to 22-14. Any hope the visitors held for a comeback ended there, as Sekou Cisse's three-point play touched off a 9-2 run to open some breathing room at 31-16 with eight minutes left until intermission.
Caraballo then added eight points and Roberts chipped in six as STAC dropped the hammer, opening a 52-24 gap with two minutes left on the strength of a 17-4 outburst. By the time the teams headed to their respective locker rooms after 20 minutes, the Spartans held a comfortable 59-29 cushion, with the chasm expanding to as much as 34 points and the Lions getting no closer than 25 down the rest of the afternoon.
Roberts led STAC with 18 points, Caraballo added 16, and Gilbert chipped in 12, while Corbett was the only Molloy scorer in double-figures with 13.
The Spartan will play the remainder of the regular-season in ECC action, traveling to face NYIT in a 7:30 pm start on Wednesday, January 15. They return to Aquinas Hall to take on Queens College on Saturday, January 18, with game time at approximately 3:00 pm as the back end of a double-header featuring the women's teams starting at 1:00.