Maine’s Trey Davis dribbles against the defense of Lakeland’s Jay Wright during the G League game at the Portland Expo on Sunday. (Ariana van den Akker/Portland Press Herald)
PORTLAND — Trey Davis hit 10 threes and scored 57 points, both Maine Red Claws records, but was unable to convert on his last two attempts at the basket as the Lakeland Magic squeaked out a 129-126 win in G League action in Portland on Sunday.
“I became a fan,” Magic coach Stan Heath said. “That guy just made shots. I mean, good for him, what an incredible performance. I know he wanted a ‘W’ at the end of the day, and I’m glad we snuck out with ours because we didn’t have an answer for him.”
Davis was lights-out all game, shooting 10-for-14 from behind the arc, but he and the Red Claws (17-31) struggled at the end.
With just over a minute left, Davis broke the scoring record to put Maine up 125-123. However, on the next possession, Lakeland’s Troy Caupain put a spin move on Maine’s Anthony Bennett and drove to the hoop for two of his team-high 32 points to tie the game with 39 seconds left.
On the ensuing Maine possession, Davis was the man with the ball in his hands, something Maine coach Brandon Bailey was comfortable with, given the game Davis was having. Davis got the ball near halfcourt and almost lost it, but gathered himself and blew by his defender to the hoop and was fouled.
He was 12-for-12 from the line to that point, so it seemed the next two free throws would be automatic. Davis, though, made only one of two, but still gave the Red Claws a 126-125 lead with 31 seconds remaining.
Just as Maine was putting the ball in Davis’ hand to create, Lakeland (25-22) handed Caupain the ball to make something happen. Caupain did just that, driving to the right side and finger-rolling the balll into the hoop, putting the Magic up one.
Davis got the ball back with 19 seconds left, and did what he did multiple times throughout the game seemingly effortlessly: cut to the basket. He drove and made a eurostep move to the hoop, but lost the ball under the basket with no foul call.
“We had a play set up on the play I got fouled on,” Davis said. “Then the second one was a no-call that I got fouled on. They didn’t call it, but it is what it is.”
After the no-call on Davis’ drive, the Magic found the outlet to John Petrucelli, who was fouled and made both free throws to give Lakeland the 129-126 lead. That gave Maine one last chance at a tying score.
The inbounds pass went to Davis with seven seconds remaining. He shot a wild 3 that was short, giving the Magic the win.
“On the last one, he told me he was going to foul me and he told the ref he was going to foul me so that is why I threw the ball up like that,” Davis said. “But I guess the ref wanted to leave a little early, man.”
Lakeland found a way to stop Davis at the end of the game, but throughout the game Davis seemed to get anything he wanted on the court.
“It’s the same thing that goes through my head in other games,” Davis said. “I try to be more aggressive. But it’s not unusual, I know I can do stuff like that.”
The first quarter was a game of runs, first by Maine, which hitting six 3s to jump out to a 29-13 lead.
Lakeland was unphased and made a strong comeback, something it did multiple times in the game, and went on an 18-0 run to take a 31-29 lead. An intrical part of the comeback was Alan Anderson, who scored nine of his 30 points in the first quarter.
“We had to answer some kind of way tonight, and that happened to just be Alan, who stepped up in a big way,” Heath said. “We’ve been on the road for six games straight, two weeks, so just focus-wise and energy-wise, it’s just kind of hard to get there. But I give my bench a lot of credit because we were getting blown out in the first half and they brought it back in the second half.”
In the second quarter, Vitto Brown hit two early treys to help Maine build another double-digit lead. Maine’s defense was shaky again, the main culprit in the Red Claws’ recent streak of 16 losses in their last 17 games.
Caupain scored seven quick points and Anderson converted a four-point play at the end of the half to make the deficit just five for Lakeland. Caupain said winning Sunday’s game was important to the Magic.
“We are fighting for a playoff spot, so every game counts, especially on this six -game road trip,” Caupain said. “It shows your toughness, flying place to place, you don’t get the treatment of being able to go home to your bed, so it’s like a different type of mindset to show you can win on the road and in back-to-backs like they do in the league. Getting it done on the road is always special.”
The third quarter was a team effort for the Red Claws, including Bennett and Devin Williams, who finished with 16 and 17 points, respectively. However, the period was headlined by Davis, who hit three consecutive 3-pointers near the end of the quarter, including a shot clock-beating 3 with a minute left in the quarter to make his point total 38 and to give the Red Claws a 103-97 lead heading into the fourth.
Davis was also making players for others, finishing the game with eight assists.
“As a point guard, you try to get other teammates involved,” Davis said. “I got it going and I know I can get it going. Last game I had 12 assists, so I try to make my teammates happy.”
As the game came down to the wire, Bailey was confident with Davis handling the ball.
“The way Trey was playing, I have no problem with him deciding to take that shot,” Bailey said. “That’s his shot and his play to make. If he wants to take it then I have no problem with anything that happened on that play.”
The Red Claws will face the Long Island Nets on Thursday in their final home game of the season.
Maine’s Anthony Bennett shoots the ball as Lakeland’s Byron Mullens defends during the G League game at the Portland Expo on Sunday. (Ariana van den Akker/Portland Press Herald)
Maine’s Trey Davis shoots the ball in front of Lakeland’s Jamel Artis, right, during the G League game at the Portland Expo on Sunday. (Ariana van den Akker/Portland Press Herald)
Maine’s Devin Williams reaches for a rebound as teammate Anthony Bennett and Lakeland’s T.J. Price watch the ball during the G League game at the Portland Expo on Sunday. (Ariana van den Akker/Portland Press Herald)
Maine’s Anthony Bennett greets Lakeland’s Jamel Artis before the game at the Portland Expo on Sunday. (Ariana van den Akker/Portland Press Herald)