WATERVILLE — If the Colby College men’s basketball team is to make some noise in the New England Small College Athletic Conference this season, it will be because the Mules play strong defense. So although Colby held a 14-point lead at the half of Tuesday’s game against crosstown rival Thomas College, the Mules knew they could do better.

Colby held the Terriers to seven points over the first 10 minutes of the second half, dominated the boards throughout the game and pulled away with a 103-68 win at Thomas’ Mahaney Gym.

“We take pride in our defense, and that was the biggest point of emphasis at halftime. We felt real good about the second half,” said Colby’s 6-foot-8 forward Chris Hudnut, who scored a game-high 25 points to go with eight rebounds and two blocks.

Ahead 56-42 at the half, Colby (4-1) opened the second half with a 13-0 run. Over the first 10 minutes of the second half, the Mules outscored the Terriers 29-7 to pull away.

“We were able to play to our pace and rhythm and wear them down. I thought controlling the defensive end in the second half opened up that size advantage,” Colby coach Damian Strahorn said.

The Mules outrebounded Thomas (1-4) 39-18, and 11 offensive boards helped lead to 16 second-chance points for Colby. The Mules shot 59.7 percent from the field, including 10 of 23 from 3-point range.

“They’re a good basketball team. Their size hurt us,” Thomas coach Geoff Hensley said. “Even when their size didn’t hurt us, they kicked it out and made wide open threes.”

Sam Wilson added 15 points for Colby, and Connor O’Neil scored 13.

Skowhegan native Levi Barnes led Thomas with 22 points, while Eric Westbrooks scored 20 for the Terriers.

“I thought they played tough in the first half, Thomas did. Both Levi and Eric played well. Coming into the game, we knew they were two key guys for them,” Strahorn said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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