PORTLAND – The Maine Red Claws were unable to maintain their halftime lead as the NBA D-League East Division-leading Canton Charge (24-15) outscored the Red Claws 70-44 in the second half en route to a 108-83 win Sunday afternoon at the Portland Expo.
The first quarter saw the two teams trade baskets early, with Chris Wright scoring six of Maine’s first 10 points. Canton’s Kyle Gibson was equal to the task with six points of his own in the quarter, but the Red Claws (21-20), powered by a balanced scoring attack that saw seven players contributing, took a 21-17 lead into the first break.
Charge forward Travis Franklin came out hot early, helping Canton tie the score at 23 apiece as part of a 13-4 run to take the lead midway through the second, 30-25. Maine’s Mark Tyndale scored five points as part of an 11-4 run to reclaim the lead for the Red Claws, and Franklin and Maine's Micah Downs traded layups to close out the half with Maine holding a slim 39-38 advantage.
Maine got early scoring in the third quarter from Wright and Downs, but the Charge got the 3-ball working, with guard Antoine Agudio connecting on three shots from beyond the arc during a stretch that saw Canton come from behind to take a nine-point lead.
Maine’s Curtis Jerrells looked to stop the run with five straight points to cut the Charge lead to one, with a DaJuan Summers three-pointer on Maine’s next possession tying the game at 58 apiece. The Charge (24-15) had the answer, however, as Gibson and Dominique Johnson ran Canton’s lead back up to nine, closing out the third with a 76-65 lead.
Summers and Wright scored four quick points to cut the lead to seven, but back-to-back threes from Johnson and Agudio extended the lead to 13. The Red Claws got the score back to within eight on a pair of Tyndale free throws and a Summers three-pointer, but that was as close as the Red Claws would come as Franklin would score eight of Canton’s next 13 pointse.
Keying the Charge in the win was Agudio with 21 points. Canton also got strong performances from Gibson (20), Franklin (18), Arinze Onuaku with a double-double (12 points, 13 rebounds), Jorge Gutierrez (12) Kyle Weaver (10 points, six assists) and Johnson (10 points, six rebounds).
Maine was led by Wright’s 20 points and six rebounds. The Red Claws also got solid efforts from Summers (15), Jerrells (14 points, five steals) and Tyndale (12 points, seven rebounds).
Maine will look to keep its playoff hopes alive Thursday night at 7 p.m. when it hosts the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.