The St. Thomas Aquinas College men's basketball team rolled to an 82-58 victory over Roberts Wesleyan College in an East Coast Conference clash at Aquinas Hall. The Spartans, ranked #24 in this week's NABC National Poll, improve to 9-1 overall and 2-0 in conference action, while RWC dropped to 2-8, 0-2.
On the game's first possession, Shane Fanning completed a three-shot foul to give RWC a quick edge, but the Spartans responded to grab a 10-6 lead. With the score deadlocked at 12-12 after eight minutes of action, Avante Gilbert, Grant Singleton and Osbel Caraballo hit consecutive field goals, and Marcus Stephens added a three as STAC opened a 25-18 advantage. Terrell Humes-Kinzer trimmed the deficit to 25-20 for the Redhawks with seven minutes left, but Sekou Cisse recorded six point and Caraballo added a buzzer-beating jam as a 17-4 run helped the hosts open a 42-24 halftime advantage.
Gilbert's dunk at 15:50 opened the gap to 53-31, but the visitors chipped away, trimming the deficit to 60-47 on Armon Nasseri's three-point play with eight minutes left on the clock. Demetre Roberts nailed a big three-pointer - his only points of the game - Gilbert followed from in close, and Singleton drilled one from deep as St. Thomas Aquinas pulled away in the waning minutes.
Gilbert led four Spartans in double-figures with a career-high 19 point performance, converting 9-of-13 from the field to go with six rebounds. Cisse added 18 and a game-high 11 caroms, Singleton added 13 and Caraballo chipped in 10 for STAC. Armon Nasseri paced Roberts Wesleyan with 15 points and nine rebounds.
The Spartans return to action for a huge regional and conference match-up this Sunday, December 15, hosting Daemen College with start time at approximately 3:00 pm as the back end of double-header action following the women's game at 1:00. They will then close out the 2019 portion of their schedule with a showdown against Findlay University (Ohio) on Saturday, December 21, at 1:00 pm.