BANGOR, Maine – The Thomas College men’s basketball team held off a fierce rally from Castleton to win 71-57 in the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Semifinals on Friday afternoon.
In the win, the Terriers advance to the NAC Championship on Saturday where they will face the winner of Husson and Lyndon State.
The Terriers came out shooting in the opening minutes as their first four field goals came from behind the arch to jump out to a 12-6 lead. Ian King (Westbrook, Maine / Hebron Academy) began the half knocking down three three-pointers. Tondi Mushandu responded with a pair of threes for the Spartans to keep pace with the Terriers.
The Spartans offense fell silent for seven minutes, allowing the Terriers to increase their lead to 27-14. In the final four minutes of the first, Castleton knocked down three three-pointers from Edmund Fitzgerald, Ben Mrowka, and Casey Belade. Tailour Hall (Jacksonville, Florida / Edward White) netted the Terriers final five points in the half to give them a 37-25 lead at the break. Willie Grant (Philadelphia, Pa. / Paul Robeson) finished with nine points off the bench for Thomas. Chad Copeland led the Spartans with seven points and eight rebounds.
Zach Mackinnon (Kennebunk, Maine / Kennebunk) began the second half by knocking down back-to-back threes. Down 20 with 15:17 remaining, the Spartans looked to rally as the Terriers were held scoreless for just under six minutes. Jordan Nelson netted six points to bring the score to 60-54.
Tyheem Simon (Far Rockaway, N.Y. / Lawrence) came up big from Thomas in the final minutes adding two layups, including a three-point play to finish the scoring at 71-57.
Mackinnon led the Terriers with a game-high of 15 points on five three-pointers. King netted 14 points on 4-of-6 shooting while Simon added 11 points and seven rebounds.
Copeland finished with a double-double at 14 points and 13 rebounds from the Spartans. Mushandu added 13 points while Nelson with netted eight points and dished out three assists.
The Terriers will play in their first North Atlantic Conference Championship since 2009 as they face the winner of Lyndon State and Husson at 2:00 p.m. Saturday.