The Maine Red Claws found a way to win last night, defeating the visiting BayHawks 102-95.
The Maine Red Claws, facing the struggling Erie BayHawks last night, found a way to win, starting their latest winning streak and gaining another game on the East-leading Iowa Energy. While it still seems unlikely that Maine could overcome a 6.5-game lead with just 14 games left, it is still mathematically possible. With the Energy’s recent losses, the two upcoming games against Iowa are looming even larger on the schedule.
Tonight the Red Claws played a generally consistent game, seemingly a nice balance between the Wednesday and Thursday Red Claws. While the first half was somewhat less impressive – the teams went into halftime tied at 54 – Maine came out and took control in the second half, pushing forward to a lead they would not relinquish. Part of the difficulty last night was that Paul Davis, the Claws’ recently-acquired big man, was out last night with an illness. This allowed the BayHawks’ 6’11″ center John Bryant to dominate offensively, knocking down 32 points.
Fortunately, Maine did play effective defensive against much of the rest of the team. Two of the BayHawks’ starters did not even reach double digits. Indeed, Erie only had three players in double digits while Maine had six. This balanced approach helped overcome Bryant’s success, as did the quality defense played by the Claws. This was reflected in the stats, with Erie shooting 2 for 12 from downtown and Maine hitting 7 of 12, and with Maine getting 11 blocked shots to Erie’s 2. While Erie was able to build up a lead in the second quarter, Maine effectively took advantage when they put in their bench, letting the Red Claws move back into a tie.
Maine never let up tonight, regardless of who was on the court or what the score was, and that let them hang on for the win. This team seems to be gelling well, which is important, because while there may be another change or two, this is going to mostly be the playoff roster. The Red Claws seemed to have taken away important lessons from both their Wednesday loss and their Thursday blowout. Hopefully they continue to be this effective on the road against Fort Wayne and in the upcoming big matchups at home against Sioux Falls (a likely fellow playoff team) and Iowa. This sort of consistent performance should be the model down the stretch and for the playoffs.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Russell Robinson
NEXT THREE: Tuesday, March 2, @ Fort Wayne Mad Ants, 7:00PM…Sunday, March 7, vs. Sioux Falls, 5:00PM…Friday, March 12, vs. Iowa, 7:30PM.
NOTES: Erie coach John Treloar was ejected in the third quarter…Cavaliers assignee Danny Green was recalled to Cleveland before the game.