Husson University men's basketball player Justin Martin. Credit: Husson Athletics

FARMINGTON, Maine — Justin Martin poured in 26 points and snared nine rebounds on Saturday afternoon, helping Husson University win the North Atlantic Conference men’s basketball championship with an 82-67 victory over Thomas College at Dearborn Gymnasium.

The win guarantees coach Warren Caruso’s Eagles (17-10) a trip to the NCAA Division III Championship tournament. The Terriers finish at 14-13.

Martin was named the tournament most valuable player and was joined on the all-tourney team by teammates Justin Thompson and D.J. Bussey. Also selected were Jordan Goodson and Zach Mackinnon of Thomas, Milani Hicks of UMaine-Farmington and SUNY Canton’s Robert Holliday Jr.

Husson received 19 points, six rebounds and six assists from Thompson and Bussey chipped in with nine points.

The Eagles shot 50 percent from the field, going 29-for-58, and also converted 17 of 23 free throws.

Mackinnon spearheaded the effort for Thomas with 18 points and five rebounds, while Goodson (4 steals) and Justin Butler (3 assists) netted 13 points each. Lovegeurson Fleurine chipped in with 11 points.

The game was tied 40-40 at halftime, but the Eagles tightened up the defense while limiting the Terriers to 25 second-half points.

Husson opened the second half with a 12-2 flurry in the first 2 minutes, 39 seconds. Bruce St. Peter got it rolling with a layup, then Thompson converted a conventional three-point play.

Demetris Webster countered with a layup for Thomas, but Martin canned a 3-pointer, drove in for a layup off a Bussey steal, then scored another transition layup to give the Eagles a 52-42 lead with 17:21 remaining.

The Terriers never got closer than eight points after that.