SPARKILL, N.Y. – The Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University) men's basketball team (2-4) tied it up late in the second half but ultimately fell to the St. Thomas Aquinas Spartans (3-2) on the road by a final of 77-67 on Wednesday night.
Senior Yevgen Sakhniuk led the Rams with a team-high 22 points on 11-of-14 shooting (78.6%) from the floor.
Freshman Alexander Gorton followed him up with 18 points on 5-of-11 shooting while also converting 6-of-8 from the free-throw line.
Senior Kaison Randolph was the third Ram in double-digits with 12 points including 7-of-8 from the charity strike.
Sophomore Prince Hickson scored nine points off the bench in 21 minutes with seven coming in the second half.
Jefferson jumped out to an early 12-3 lead before a nine-point run for the Spartans put them up 14-12. The Rams tied up the game at both 14-14 and 21-21 before taking a 23-21 advantage with about eight minutes left in the first half.
The two teams traded leads a total of six times in the opening period as STAC held a 36-34 lead at the break.
Gorton (11) and Sakhiuk (10) were both in double figures at halftime. The senior was a perfect 5-of-5 from the field after 20 minutes.
The Spartans went up as many as 10 in the early parts of the second half after hitting their first three shots out of halftime, 44-34.
After six minutes, Jefferson got back within two after a pair of free throws from Randolph, 48-46, around the 12-minute mark.
With under 10 minutes remaining, STAC was holding onto to a 57-50 lead. The Rams went on a seven-point run over the next five minutes to even the score, 57-57.
St. Thomas Aquinas hit a pair of free throws with around five minutes to play to retake the lead, which they held on the rest of the contest. Jefferson got within five points twice, but could not complete the late comeback, 77-67.
The Spartans edged the Rams in bench scoring, 23-9, and second-chance points, 19-8. Jefferson shot 44.0% in both the first (11-25) and second (11-25) halves.
Jefferson Men's Basketball will host Bentley in the Rams' home opener on Saturday, Nov. 18 at noon from the Gallagher Center. The women's team follows at 2 p.m. against Lincoln (Pa.). A purchased ticket gets you into both events.