JOHNSON, VT – The Thomas College men's basketball team allowed a second half lead to slip away as Johnson State came back to win, 86-77, in a North Atlantic Conference (NAC) matchup on Saturday.
The Terriers drop to 6-7 (4-2 NAC) on the season while the Badgers move to .500 at 6-6 (2-3 NAC).
Leading scorers Tyheem Simon (Far Rockaway, N.Y. / Lawrence) and Carlos Gonzalez (Kennebunk, Maine / Lewiston) took control of the Terriers offense in the first seven minutes scoring the first 12 points for the Terriers. The Badgers held a slim advantage in the as they went 4-for-7 from behind the arch. Rasul Jackson hit two of the three-pointers to keep his team ahead.
Thomas answered back on three-straight threes from Simon, Tailour Hall (Jacksonville, Florida / Edward White), and Ian King (Westbrook, Maine / Westbrook) to take a 36-32 lead. Jordan Derosby (Waterville, Maine / Waterville) and Simon each added a layup before the end of the half to give the Terriers a 43-40 advantage at the break.
Both teams came out in the second half with a hot hand as the Terriers jumped out on a 14-10 run in the first five minutes. Benjamin Holl hit two threes and chipped in with a layup for the Badgers to keep within striking distance.
Willie Grant (Philadelphia, PA / Paul Robeson) netted eight points along with six from Simon to give the Terriers a 67-61 lead with 11:15 remaining. At 8:33, Holl, Kawaun Chavis, and Hayden Tomlinson all knocked down threes to take a 72-69 lead for the Badgers.
Holl and Chavis continued their hot shooting to hold an 82-77 lead over Thomas with 1:17 left. Thomas missed opportunities in the final seconds as Johnson hit their free throws to earn an 86-77 victory.
Simon finished with 23 points and three rebounds while Gonzalez added 18 points and eight rebounds. Grant contributed with ten second half points and two assists.
Holl led the Badgers to the victory with 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting while going 5-for-7 from three. Chavis ended with 21 points and six rebounds.
The Terriers will continue their NAC road trip on Tuesday, January 10, as they travel to Husson for a 5:30 p.m. matchup.