BY MATT DIFILIPPO

Staff Writer

A 7-5 record, including 4-3 in the North Atlantic Conference, is no reason to panic. But Thomas College men’s basketball coach T.J. Maines was hoping his team would be in a slightly better position at this point.

Three of the losses could have easily gone the other way. Thomas led Bates at halftime but lost by nine. It also lost to Castleton by one and dropped a 77-70 decision to Husson on Tuesday.

The Terriers lost the Husson game by not scoring for nearly 10 minutes in the first half, which turned an 18-6 lead into a 28-18 deficit. Thomas shot 28 percent from the floor.

“We played some of the best defense we’ve played all year in the first half,” Maines said. “As is the problem with us sometimes, we don’t always do the little things as far as movement goes to get us the good shots. Somebody thinks, ‘I’m going to end the drought.’ and we end up in a 1-on-3 situation.”

The Terriers have shot 75 percent from the foul line in each of their last two games and they’re still capable of putting up big point totals. In 12 games this season, they’ve broken 80 seven times.

Sophomore guard Franklin Salvador, who has already hit 48 3-pointers, leads Thomas with an average of 19.3 points per game. In the latest NCAA Division III weekly statistics report, Salvador was fourth in the nation with 4.1 3-pointers per game.

Jarrad DeVaughn is at 19.1 points per game, while Martin Cleveland is averaging 11.5 points and a team-high 7.8 rebounds.

At 2 p.m. Saturday, the Terriers host a University of Maine at Farmington team that has shaken off the graduation of Eric Taylor to win its first seven conference games. Sophomore Ben Johnson, a Maranacook graduate, is averaging 15.8 points and 9.7 rebounds while shooting 61 percent from the floor. Sophomore Pet Sumner (13.3 ppg) and freshman Joe McCloskey (10.5 ppg) are also averaging in double figures for the Beavers, who have done such a seamless job turning over the program that the top five scorers are four sophomores and a freshman.

“That’s obviously one of our big rivals,” Maines said. “They’re a scary group to have to play. We’ve got to make them uncomfortable. If we allow them to dictate the pace of the game, we’re in trouble.”

•••

Erskine graduate Ashley Peaslee, who plays for the University of Maine at Augusta, passed 1,000 career points this weekend. Peaslee made a free throw to reach 1,000 in a loss Saturday to Berkeley College of New York. Coach Jen Laney said there was about a five-minute ceremony with Peaslee and her family after she reached the milestone.

“She is one of the hardest-working players that I’ve ever had the opportunity to coach,” Laney said. “She kind of sets the pace of our team.”

Peaslee led the United State Collegiate Athletic Association in steals last season. In the latest report this winter, she’s on top again at 6.8 per game, and is second in the country in assists, with 6.3 per night.

“It’s incredible to watch her play,” Laney said. “She really gets it. She understands her opponents, and she can anticipate that path before it happens.”

UOther players are also making big contributions for UMA (9-5).

Monmouth graduate Jenn Lola, who did not play last season, is averaging about 20 points per game despite missing six games early in the season with a broken foot.

“Lo’s a powerhouse,” Laney said. “She really can do so many things for us. She shoots the three better than anyone else I’ve seen in the league this year.”

Katie Poirier is also playing well for the Moose. Poirier is averaging about 18 points per game, and she leads the country with 6.9 offensive rebounds per game. Poirier is also ninth in the nation with 7.0 defensive rebounds per game.

“With those three, and the addition of the other players, it gives us the ability to have so many different threats,” Laney said. “We have speed, we have shooting from the outside, and we have the strength underneath.”

UMA added two players for the second semester: Chrissy Peaslee (Ashley’s sister and an Erskine graduate), and Hall-Dale graduate Kerry Fredette. Both are freshmen. The Moose have also recovered from some first-semester injuries.

“Everybody’s back and healthy and ready to go for the second semester,” Laney said.

The Moose have two games this weekend. They’ll play Saturday against UMaine-Fort Kent at 3 p.m. at UMA’s Bangor campus. UMA will then spend the night in Presque Isle before playing UMaine-Presque Isle at noon on Sunday.

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

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