Sunday, February 21, 2016

Men's Basketball: St. Thomas Aquinas 99 UDC 74

Joseph Nickerson (#15) led UDC with 16 points, 6 assists & 3 blocks

From our friends at UDC Athletics...

UDC Men’s Basketball Suffers 99-74 ECC Setback vs. League-Leading St. Thomas Aquinas

The University of the District of Columbia men's basketball team was defeated by East Coast Conference foe St. Thomas Aquinas College, 99-74 in front of a live national TV audience Sunday afternoon at the UDC Sports Complex.

The Firebirds, who were without reigning ECC Player of the Week junior point guard Kasim Chandler for the 2nd straight game, lost their 2nd straight to drop to 13-13 overall and 11-7 in league play. They are now a game back of LIU Post (12-7) in the win column for 3rd place behind No. 2 Daemen (13-5.) The Spartans clinched an outright ECC Regular Season championship for the 2nd year in a row with today's win. They improved to 22-4 overall and 16-2 in conference play.

Seniors Clenso Brannon III, Erin Senegal & Geran Pope (r)

UDC put four scorers in double-figures including junior transfer forward Joseph Nickerson's team-high 16 points. Nickerson also registered game-highs of six assists and three blocks. Meanwhile, sophomore guard Traevon Butler's late-season offensive prowess continued as he collected 13 points and shot 3-for-3 from long range for his 5th double-figure scoring game in his last six outings.

Senior Geran Pope (#34) led all players with 12 rebounds

The Firebirds had three seniors honored before the start of the game: guard Erin Senegal (12 points), forward Geran Pope (10 points, game-high 12 rebounds) and forward Clenso Brannon III (two points, five rebounds and two steals.)

ECC Preseason POY Chaz Watler (#15) led all players with 21 points

STAC, which extended its NCAA Division II East Region-long win streak to 16 games, had three scorers in double-figures, including a game-high 21 points by ECC Preseason Player of the Year, guard Chaz Watler. Forward Justin Reyes added a double-double of 12 points, 11 rebounds to go with four assists, four steals and three blocks.

Jayone Troutman (#23, 7 points) cuts STAC's lead to 54-44

Senior forward Jayone Troutman electrified the UDC Sports Complex with the first points of the game on an alley-oop dunk off a pass by Butler 16 seconds into the action, and UDC marched out to an early 8-4 advantage after a Nickerson layup at 16:27. But STAC would use a 7-0 run to pull in front 11-8, and then take the lead for good with a 10-0 run after UDC took a brief, 14-11 lead. Reyes put the finishing touches on the 10-0 run that spanned 3:26 and put the Spartans up 21-14.

Near the six-minute mark, UDC closed what was a 26-18 deficit to three with a short, 5-0 run, but the Spartans answered with a 16-3 crusade that was aided by eight Jonathan Lawton points, and STAC led 42-26 near the three-minute mark of the first half. UDC would trail 46-31 at halftime.

STAC out-scored UDC 6-3 in the first two-and-a-half minutes of the 2nd half and opened up a 52-34 lead, but six straight points by Nickerson on three buckets helped lay the ground work for a 10-2 Firebirds surge, and UDC was within 10, 54-44 near the 15-minute mark.

Ten was as close as UDC would get the rest of the way as Watler scored four straight points to spark a 14-5 charge by the Spartans. Watler would also finish the run with a three-pointer at 10:12 to put STAC ahead, 68-49.

The Spartans' lead would grow to as many as 30 after a Peter Alkins three-pointer at 1:10, and STAC would cruise to its 16th straight victory, 99-74.

Next up for UDC is a road game at NYIT on Thursday, February 25th.

Click here for today's box score.