PHILADELPHIA – The 23rd-ranked Thomas Jefferson University men's basketball team (4-1) came up short in an overtime thriller to #20/23 St. Thomas Aquinas (6-0), 81-78 on Saturday afternoon.
The Spartans jumped out to a 7-0 lead to start the contest. With the score 15-10, the Rams scored seven straight points for their first advantage of the game at 17-15. However, STAC responded with a 14-2 run to go ahead by 10 (29-19) with 4:52 on the clock. The Spartans increased the margin by halftime and the score was 38-25.
Jefferson came out hot in the second half, outscoring STAC 24-7 in the first eight minutes to take a 49-45 lead. Senior Josh Bradanese and sophomore Ja'Zere Noel each had seven points during the stretch. The Spartans came back to even the score at 51, the first of six ties over the next four minutes. The Rams had a 69-68 advantage with 42 seconds to play. STAC drilled a three-pointer at the 10-second mark to go in front by two. With one last shot, Bradanese drove under the basket and made a layup with three seconds to spare to force overtime.
The Spartans scored the first four points of the extra session. Sophomore Deondre Bourne hit a three for Jefferson to make it a one-point game. STAC followed with two layups to lead by five (79-74). Senior Kylan Guerra's layup got the Rams within two (80-78) with 29 seconds left. The Spartans drew a foul but went 1-for-2 at the line to keep it a one-possession game. Bradanese's three-point attempt at the buzzer was off the mark.
BY THE NUMBERS
- Bradanese and Bourne each finished with 18 points with Bourne knocking down five threes.
- Senior DeVaughn Mallory posted a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds. He also had five assists and two blocks.
- Senior Kylan Guerra scored 11 points with nine boards, seven assists and three steals.
AS A TEAM
- The Rams were 26-for-61 (42.6%) from the field, 8-for-22 (36.4%) on three-pointers and 18-for-21 (85.7%) at the stripe.
- Jefferson shot 59.3% (16-for-27) in the second half.
- It was the Rams' first contest against a nationally-ranked squad since November 25, 2018 at Bentley.
- Mallory reached 600 points scored as a Ram.
- It was Jefferson's first overtime game since January 30, 2019 versus Wilmington (Del.).
The Rams begin conference play versus Wilmington (Del.) on Tuesday, December 3 at 8 p.m.