PORTLAND - For the second night in a row, the Maine Red Claws (15-8) were able to hold off the Iowa Energy (6-15) at the Portland Expo Building, winning Saturday night's contest, their fifth in a row, 110-106.
The Red Claws got off to a slow start, but Xavier Silas and Micah Downs led 17-4 run brought them right back into the game. Iowa would not be held down, however, as a 10-2 run closed out the first with the Energy leading, 29-25. Maine would charge back at the start of the second with another 17 point run, with Downs and Chris Wright providing much of the scoring and Silas hitting a three point bookend to the run. Iowa again refused to go away, mounting a 14-0 run of their own to regain a four point lead before Maine closed out the half on a 13-2 run to go into the locker room with the lead, 54-50.
The Energy completely erased the Red Claws lead thanks to a quick scoring burst from former Red Claws Morris Almond and Paul Harris, taking a 61-60 advantage midway through the quarter. The teams traded baskets before Iowa once again went on a big run, outscoring Maine 14-4 on Ben Strong and New Orleans Hornets assigned player Darius Miller. Maine's Champ Oguchi picked up eight quick points of his own to bring the Red Claws back into it, trailing 77-75 through three. The fourth quarter was back and forth battle between the two squads as they traded the lead ten times, with Maine taking the lead for good on a Silas three point play. The Red Claws never got more than four points ahead of the Energy in the final minutes, but were able to hold Iowa at bay, closing out the game, 110-106.
Leading Iowa was the combination of Miller and Almond, each scoring 19 points. The Energy also got production from Josh Boone (15 points, 11 rebounds), Othyus Jeffers (13 points, six rebounds, five assists), Harris (10 points, five rebounds) and Justin Hurtt (10). Point guard Chris Wright handed out nine assists for the visitors.
Maine was led by Silas' 21 points and four assists. Other Red Claws that were key in the victory were Downs (19 points, eight rebounds, four steals), Wright (16 points, eight rebounds), Oguchi (16 points, four assists), Celtics assigned player Fab Melo (13 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks) and Omar Reed (10 points, four assists, three steals).
The Red Claws will be back on the Expo floor on Monday at 1 PM when they take on the Springfield Armor.