Short-handed Red Claws pierce Armor

10:41 PM, Dec 31, 2012   |    comments
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PORTLAND - A disabled bus, snow-delayed flight and broken van were no match for the Maine Red Claws (10-5) as they put away their longtime rival, the Springfield Armor (4-8), 105-84, in front of a sellout crowd at the Portland Expo today. The Red Claws, who arrived back in Portland just 10 hours before game time, were able to take advantage of an Armor squad missing their leading scorer, James Mays, who was sidelined with the flu. The Red Claws were without three of their top players as well, with Chris Wright and Fab Melo sidelined with injuries and Kris Joseph recalled to Boston.

The two squads traded baskets to begin the game, but with the score 10-8 in favor of the Armor early in the first quarter, Maine scored four quick points to take an early lead. Springfield would tie the game at 12-12, but that would be the last time the teams were close, as the Red Claws outscored the Armor 17-9 to close out the quarter with a 29-21 edge.

The second quarter saw the lead grow, as DaJuan Summers and Micah Downs keyed a 13-4 run to push the lead up to 15. Springfield tried to muster a late run to close out the half, but a Summers' three pointer at the buzzer sent the Red Claws into the locker room with a 56-40 advantage.

Maine further padded their lead in the third quarter, as Summers and Downs again bookended a 16-4 run that pushed Red Claws' lead to 25 points. The Armor made some noise to end the quarter, closing out with a 7-0 run of their own, and the teams headed into the final frame with Maine leading 76-57.

The final quarter began much like the first, with the teams trading points early. Maine got all the cushion they needed with Champ Oguchi and Chris Ayer keying an 11-0 run midway through the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.

Leading the Armor with 15 points and nine rebounds was Carleton Scott. Springfield also got solid efforts from Ben Uzoh (14 pts, 8 assists), Ramone Moore (14 pts), Shawn Vanzant (11 pts), Christian Polk (10 pts) and Willie Reed (eight pts, eight rebounds).

The Red Claws were paced by Summers 23 points and 15 rebounds. Other key contributors in the win were Downs (23 pts, 7 steals, 6 rebounds), Oguchi (16 pts, 6 rebounds, 5 assists), Scott VanderMeer (14 pts, 7 rebounds) and Xavier Silas (11 pts).

The Red Claws will be back in action next weekend, hosting the Erie BayHawks on Friday at 7 PM and the Canton Charge on Saturday, also at 7 PM.


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