WATERVILLE — In a game in which Thomas College seniors John Morgan and Carlos Gonzalez each scored his 1,000th career point, the Terriers put together a come-from-behind win they hope is a springboard to success in North Atlantic Conference games down the stretch.
Trailing the University of Maine at Farmington by 11 points with just under seven minutes to go, Thomas rallied. The Terriers took the lead for good on a Demetrius Webster jumper with 1:40 to play, and held on for a 65-62 win at Mahaney Gym. The win improved Thomas to 6-7, 4-3 in NAC play. The Beavers are now 4-9, 2-6 in conference games.
The men’s game gave Thomas a sweep of UMF, as the Terrier women pulled away early and cruised to a 61-42 win over the Beavers.
“This group’s had to fight through so much this year. Down 11, it really wasn’t that much. We knew what we had to do to grind out a win,” Morgan, who scored a game-high 26 points, said.
Isaac Witham’s basket with 6:51 to play gave UMF a 59-48 lead. Gonzalez started an 11-0 Thomas run with a layup. With 2:27 left, Gonzalez sank a 5-foot turnaround jumper to knot the score at 59-59. The Beavers took a one-point lead on an Amir Moss free throw with 2:01 left, but Thomas retook the lead for good with Webster’s shot. After an Eric Berry miss at the other end, a Gonzalez layup pushed the Terrier lead to 63-60. Milani Hicks scored for the Beavers with 24 seconds left to cut Thomas’ lead to one, but Justin Butler made two foul shots with 13 seconds left to clinch the win. A UMF turnover in the closing seconds prevented the Beavers from attempting a game-tying shot.
“We turned it over and we missed shots that were hurried. We need to be able to take time off the clock, and we struggled doing that,” UMF coach Dick Meader said of the final minutes of the game.
The Beavers led by as much as 11 points in the first half, and held a 33-26 lead at the break. After shooting just 37.1 percent from the floor in the first half, Thomas shot 58.6 percent in the second half. Guards Zach Mackinnon and Matt Allen scored 15 of their combined 17 points in the second half.
“Our shooters kind of found their rhythm. I give all the credit in the world to Farmington’s defense. Coach Meader has those guys playing very solid defense. End of the game, they were getting a little bit tired. Maybe it left some of our shooters open,” Thomas coach Geoff Hensley said. “Matt Allen hit a couple big threes. Zach Mackinnon found his rhythm. I wish it hadn’t taken so long in the game to happen, but the guys finally came through towards the end.”
UMF used just eight players, and Bill Ruby played just five minutes due to illness. With games already this week against Husson and Colby, fatigue was a factor down the stretch, Meader said.
Gonzalez finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds, and three blocks. He scored his 1,000th point on a layup with seconds left in the first half. Morgan hit the milestone five minutes into the second half.
“Me and Carlos, we date back to our first year at our previous college (Southern Main Community College). To get it on the same night, it’s dream-like,” Morgan said.
Added Hensley: “I’m so proud of those two young men. They definitely deserve all the attention, the recognition, the awards they’re getting.”
Hicks led UMF with 15 points, while Moss and Riley Robinson each scored 13.
In the day’s first game, the Thomas women removed all drama by taking a 33-13 lead after one quarter. The Terriers dominated the first quarter, shooting 52 percent while limiting the Beavers to a single rebound. Thomas improved to 7-7, 4-3 in NAC play. UMF is 4-9, 1-7.
“I have never seen, any of the teams I’ve had here, play quite like that. It was exciting to watch. We just jumped on fire,” Thomas coach Emily Cummins said.
The Terriers continued to dominate the second quarter, taking a 47-20 into halftime.
“We’re starting to get there. When we play together, we get stuff like that, 30 point quarters,” senior Amira Jones, who had 16 points and 11 rebounds for Thomas, said. “We know we can play that well. Seeing it on the scoreboard is reassuring.”
A stat that stood out to Cummins was the 18 offensive rebounds the Terriers grabbed in the first half. Thomas had 22 offensive boards in the game, scoring 21 second-chance points to UMF’s two.
“I don’t know if we’ve had 18 offensive rebounds in a game,” Cummins said.
Thomas didn’t shoot as well in the second half, and finished the game making 24 of 76 shots (31.6 percent) from the field.
“We have that 15 minute halftime. We come up, we relax, and we don’t have that same fire. We can’t be a first half team. We can’t be an any half team. We’ve got to put the whole thing together,” Cummins said.
Karli Stubbs scored 13 points for the Terriers, while Jordan Turner grabbed 10 rebounds. Molly Carroll scored 10 points for Thomas. Haley Felkel led the Beavers with 12 points.
Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242