WATERVILLE, ME - Junior Justin Murray converted a layup and a free throw with five seconds left to lift the Thomas men's basketball team to a 66-65 victory over the University of Maine at Presque Isle on Saturday afternoon from Larry Mahaney Gymnasium. Murray poured in a game-high 23 points off the bench to lead the Terriers.
Levi Barnes, who was honored before the game for scoring his 1,000 career point last Friday, scored the first five points of the game to jump start the Thomas (3-7) offense early. The Owls (7-4) would answer quickly on three-pointers by Chase Vicaire and Maurice Harris to take the lead. The rest of the first half played out evenly as both teams shot the ball pretty well.
After a Ke'mauree Williams dunk gave the Terriers a 30-28 lead with 5:33 remaining in the half, the Owls closed on a 13-3 run to take the halftime lead 41-33.
Thomas got off to a slow start in the second half and fell behind 50-39 with less than 14 minutes to play, but responded by going on a 17-2 over the next five minutes. Murray hit three consecutive threes during the run to spark Thomas.
After falling behind 63-59 with just over four minutes left, Murray made back to back layups to pull the score even at 63. Vicaire would make two foul shots for the Owls to give them the lead back at 2:20.
A series of timeouts later, Murray came up with a big steal late and the Terriers used their final timeout with 17 seconds left and down by two.
With just five seconds left, Murray would convert a driving layup after behind intentionally fouled to tie the game up at 65. Murray would then hit one of two foul shots to give Thomas a 66-65 lead. The Terriers held off a last second shot by the Owls for the win.
Murray scored 16 of his 23 in the second half, Barnes added 18 and Adam Carlsen 10 in the victory for Thomas. Harris and Vicaire led the Owls with 18 and 15 each.
Thomas now will have some time off before returning to the court on Tuesday, January 6 when the get back into the North Atlantic Conference as they host the University of Maine at Farmington. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30pm.