WATERVILLE – Joe Scheuers had been talking for less than a minute when a smile broke across his face.

Win No. 1 didn’t take long. But for the new Thomas men’s basketball coach, it still felt good to get.

Thomas won its season opener Friday night, defeating UMaine-Augusta 100-75 at Mahaney Gymnasium.

“We’re going to enjoy it tonight,” Scheuers said. “I’m excited, they get to see a victory in their first game of the year. I’m excited right now. We won by 20 on our court, and I thought they played well.”

He didn’t need a one-man show to get it. The Terriers cracked 100 points and got 24 from Demetris Webster, but four players cracked double figures. Zach MacKinnon had 16, Jordan Goodson and Evan Arsenault each added 14 and Justin Butler added eight.

Lovegeurson Fleurine pulled down 17 rebounds, while Patrik Lubin gathered 10.

“Anybody can go off any night,” Lubin said. “Either way, it’s a ‘W’.”

The Moose were led by 19 points apiece from Dustin Simpson-Bragg and Israel Brown and 18 from Noah Thompson, and were battling the Terriers in a close game before Thomas pulled away in the second half.

“I think we lost a little bit of our legs again,” coach Jim Ford said. “Our legs aren’t there yet. I just don’t see us being able to finish our games lately, and we’re 0-4 because we just have not finished games. We’ve been in every one of these games, with leads. But when it comes down to the last six, seven minutes, we’re just running out of gas.”

Thomas trailed early but made its move late in the first half. Down 23-21 with 6:05 left, MacKinnon hit back-to-back 3-pointers to put Thomas ahead, and Webster scored off a steal of the inbound pass and then hit a 3 to cap an 11-0 run and put the Terriers up 32-23.

“This was the first time we actually worked against the zone live, so I knew it was going to be ugly at first,” said Scheuers, an assistant at Earlham College in Indiana before taking over at Thomas. “But right when we started figuring it out, the guys started picking it apart and we got our shooters the ball, they started knocking it down.”

Down 39-30 at halftime, the Moose challenged again in the second half, trimming the deficit to 50-48 on a Brown 3-pointer with 14:37 to play. The Terriers had another answer ready, however, in the form of a 14-2 run that featured six points by Webster and 3-pointers by Butler and Goodson, and put Thomas ahead 64-50 with 11:40 to go.

“We made the adjustment to start going to the basket, and for some reason, Thomas with the size, they weren’t really protecting the rim. So we took advantage of staying around in the game and having a few leads,” Ford said. “In the second half, they clearly tightened that up, we had a harder time getting in there, and they broke our offense down by basically double-teaming our first pass.”

The Moose got to within 11 at 80-69 on a Brown free throw with 4:02 to play, but Thomas scored 17 of the next 19 points to turn the game into a romp.

“We just teach discipline. If we can be the most disciplined version of Thomas on the offensive end as well as on the defensive end, that’s where we see our success. When we try to be fancy, the lead dwindles.”

Scheuers said it wasn’t a surprise to see his team spread the wealth — or find most of that wealth when closing out the game. Thomas scored 61 of its 100 points in the second half, hitting eight 3-pointers.

“Ever since I got here, with these guys, I haven’t had to teach effort or energy or communication,” Schuers said. “They bring it every day, and that makes it fun for a coach. I’m 10, 12 guys deep right now. … I know whoever I’m putting in the game is going to bring energy and effort, and if the shot goes in, they’re going to stay in.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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