The St.. Thomas Aquinas College men's basketball team recorded 15 three-pointers in an 87-72 non-conference victory over the University of New Haven at Aquinas Hall. The Spartans, ranked #15 in the nation by the NABC and #11 by D2SIDA, improved to 13-2 overall while New Haven fell to 4-8 with the loss. STAC was also the unanimous #1 pick in this week's D2SIDA East Region rankings released Monday.
Demetre Roberts offered a taste of coming attractions as an early three-pointer opened a quick 11-2 lead for STAC, and the diminutive point guard added a layup to give his squad a 19-7 cushion midway through the first half. After the Spartan lead expanded to as many as 14 points, New Haven began to chip away as Derrick Rowland's layup closed the margin to 31-25 in the final minute before the half ended at 34-27.
Both offenses clicked early in the second as a quick trey from Rowland brought the Chargers to within 34-30, but Roberts was set to take over the game with his perimeter prowess. Roberts struck three straight times from deep though an exchange of hoops kept the score within reach at 43-34 less than two minutes into the half. Lou Griffith added another from deep as STAC started the half 4-of-4 from beyond the arc as part of a 16-4 explosion, opening a 50-34 gap as the hosts carried no less than a double-figure lead the rest of the way.
Roberts and Griffith appeared to engage in a personal shooting competition as Roberts ended the night with nine three pointers (shooting a torrid 9-of-12) on the way to a career-high 31 points, while Griffith settled for just five treys off the bench (5-of-8) on the way to a 19-point effort. Not to be lost in the outburst, New Haven's Kessley Felizor led the Chargers with a career high 33 points including 16-of-16 from the foul line. UNH shot a perfect 22-for-22 from the stripe, while STAC shot an unconscious 58% (15-of-26) from three-point land.
The remainder of the Spartans' regular-season schedule turns to East Coast Conference action, with Molloy College paying a visit to Aquinas Hall this Saturday, January 11. Tip time is approximately 3:00 pm as the back end of double-header action featuring the women's teams squaring off starting at 1:00 pm.