FARMINGTON — The University of Maine at Farmington tried to go halves with Thomas College on Saturday afternoon.

In a way, it was like two games rolled into one in this North Atlantic Conference showdown Saturday afternoon. The contrasting halves were a demonstration in resiliency by both teams, but the Terriers hung in there for a 64-56 victory.

“We have a great group of guys,” Thomas coach Geoff Hensley said. “They show up to practice everyday. They work hard; they are unselfish. And we went on that big run in the first half and Farmington kept chipping away the rest of the game — and that’s the game of basketball.

“We would go on a run. They would go on a run. We’d go on a run. It was a tale of two different stories in both halves, but I am proud of my guys keep fighting and rising above it.”

In the first half, the Terriers (7-8 overall) owned the court with their inside game and height advantage. The Beavers’ shooting was as cold as the ice-encased Sandy River didn’t help their cause. Thomas constructed a 35-19 cushion at halftime, while the Beavers’ offense sputtered.

But the Beavers (4-10 overall) got their act together and began eating away at the Terriers’ lead thanks to handful of 3-pointers and inside play in the last five minutes of the game.

The Terriers were leading 54-45 when the Beavers closed to within seven points when forward Riley Robinson (11 points, six rebounds) hit a pair of foul shots and guard Isaac Witham (10 points) put together a three-point play with 1:59 left.

Thomas still held a 58-51 when Witham went to the line again and dropped in two foul shots, but 6-foot-7 center Carlos Gonzalez (game-high 23 points, 13 rebounds) also hit two foul shots to make 60-53 with a minute left.

Not to be outdone, the Beavers spun around and Robinson landed a 3-pointer with 39 seconds left, but Terriers hung on when Tyheem Simon (seven points) went under and came up for the game’s final two points

Thomas’s Ian King landed in double figures with 11 points. UMF’s Amir Moss kept the Beavers from going under in the first half and became their top gun with 22 points.

“Very pleased with that group that didn’t give in,” UMF coach Dick Meader said. “But they could have easily given in. We fought back. We just got down too far, and for some reason, wasn’t able to execute…but a big part I suspect is Thomas.

“They played very well and Gonzalez just had a number of blocks and put it in our heads to be careful coming in here.

“We missed shots early and lost a little bit of confidence … that makes it tough. Nothing went our way (in the first half). But our guys kept coming and we were just basically a shot away from making it very interesting.

“Thomas has deceptive size, too, on the perimeter and it made it a little difficult to getting the 3’s. We didn’t shoot well, but alot of that was Thomas’s reach and size.”


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