WATERVILLE, MAINE – The Thomas College men's basketball team held off Johnson State for a 71-59 victory in a North Atlantic Conference (NAC) matchup on Friday night at Larry Mahaney Gymnasium.
The Terriers get back in the win column, improving to 9-9 (7-4 NAC) on the season while the Badgers fall to 7-11 (4-7 NAC).
The teams traded leads in the early going, with Johnson holding a 20-19 edge midway through the half. Three-straight Zach Mackinnon (Kennebunk, Maine / Kennebunk) three-pointers gave Thomas a 28-20 lead with 7:27 left in the period. Johnson battled back, eventually taking a 36-31 lead with 2:48 remaining. Thomas scored seven unanswered to close out the half with a 38-36 advantage. Benjamin Holl led Johnson with 11 points in the half. Mackinnon led all scorers with 15 for the Terriers, shooting 5-6 from three-point range.
The Terriers stormed out of the break with a 15-1 run, giving them a 53-37 lead with 10:51 remaining. Johnson chipped away at the Thomas lead, pulling the score to 57-54 on a Holl layup with 5:59 on the clock. Thomas put Johnson away in the closing minutes, outscoring the Badgers 14-5 down the stretch to take the 71-59 victory. Holl and Kawaun Chavis paced the Badgers in the half with eight points each, while Tyheem Simon (Far Rockaway, N.Y. / Lawerence) led the Terriers with 11.
Simon led all scorers with 22 points, with Mackinnon coming in right behind him with 21. Carlos Gonzalez (Kennebunk, Maine / Lewiston) picked up a 12 point, 10 rebound double-double. Ian King (Westbrook, Maine / Hebron Academy) chipped up 12 assists and nine rebounds for Thomas.
Johnson was led by Holl, who scored 19 points and picked up five assists. Chavis added 17 more points and seven rebounds, while Demetrius Slade hauled in 10 rebounds, four assists and four steals.
Thomas outshot Johnson 45.9% to 37.3% from the field, while also holding a 40.0% to 34.6% edge beyond the arc. Thomas doubled-up Johnson in rebounds by a 50-25 margin. Johnson won the turnover battle, forcing 24 and committing just 16.
The Terriers will host Lyndon on Saturday, January 28 in a 1:00 p.m. contest at Larry Mahaney Gymnasium.