PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine Red Claws, presented by Unum, defeated the Erie BayHawks 101-90 on Friday night at the Portland Expo. Maine improved to 27-17 on the season, and now holds a 3.5-game lead in the Atlantic Division over Delaware, with a magic number of four to clinch the Atlantic Division with six games remaining.
Leading the way for Maine was Abdel Nader, who scored 22 points on 9 of 16 shooting from the floor and grabbed five rebounds and four assists. Jalen Jones scored 21 points, going 5 of 11 from the floor, 4 of 7 from downtown and 7 of 7 from the free-throw line. Jordan Mickey, who was on assignment from the Boston Celtics, scored 21 points of his own, shooting 8 of 18 from the floor and grabbing seven rebounds. Marcus Georges-Hunt added eight points, seven assists and 15 rebounds. Arthur Edwards led the bench scoring with 15 points. Maine set a franchise record for free-throw percentage, going a perfect 27 of 27 from the line.
In the 1st quarter, Maine kicked off their scoring on a three pointer from Jones which gave Maine the 3-0 lead over Erie. On the following Maine possession Jones connected on his second three pointer in a row, giving Maine a 6-0 lead. Erie first got on the board with a hook shot from Stefan Jankovic, the score was 6-2 Maine. Halfway through the quarter Maine led the Bayhawks 17-9 as Mickey connected on a 12-foot jumper. Abdel Nader slammed home a dunk to give Maine a 22-14 lead nearing the end of the quarter. In the starting lineup for just his second time, Cameron Ayers drained a three pointer which gave the Red Claws a 25-18 lead. Maine closed the quarter on a 11-4 run, leading the Erie BayHawks 36-22 after 1.
In the 2nd quarter Erie scored the first four points before Arthur Edwards slammed one home, extending the Maine lead back to 12, 38-26. Maine Extended their lead to 13 points after Jones converted an and one, the score was 45-32. Erie cut the Maine lead down to 8 at one point, but Nader drained a deep three that gave Maine a 13-point lead back, 51-38. With just over 3 minutes left in the half, Maine led Erie 55-44. Maine closed the quarter on a 3-2 run to lead 57-46 at halftime. Jones led Maine with 18 first half points, while Mickey scored 12 points, and Nader added 10 points himself.
In the 3rd quarter, Jones started where he left off, knocking down a three to open the scoring, giving Maine a 60-46 lead. Nader nailed a tough fade away jump shot, extending the Red Claw lead to 15 points, 68-53, their largest lead of the game through 2 ½ quarters. Erie went on a quick 8-2 run before Scott Morrison called a timeout, as the BayHawks cut the lead back to 9, 70-61. With 2 minutes left in the quarter the lead was back to 10 points in Maine’s favor, 75-65 after a jumper from Kalin Lucas. Edwards drained a three pointer to close the quarter out for Maine, as they led the BayHawks 78-70 heading to the 4th and final quarter.
In the 4th quarter Branden Dawson started the scoring with a put back dunk to cut Maine’s lead to 6 points, 78-72. Maine did not score until the 9:59 mark after Josh Hagins hit a three pointer on a nice assist from Marcus Georges-Hunt, Maine led 81-75. Dawson slammed home an alley-hoop on the dish from Paris Bass, which cut the Maine lead to 2, 81-79 with 8:11 to play. With half the quarter gone, Nader finished a layup to give the Red Claws an 87-79 lead over Erie. Nader scored on the next possession as well, giving Maine a 10-point lead back. Maine led early and they never gave the lead up, as they went on to beat the Erie BayHawks 101-90. Maine was 32/79 (40.5%) from the floor and 10/34 (29.4%) from downtown. Maine as a team was a perfect 27/27 from the free throw line, which is a franchise record for free throw percentage. Erie was 36/95 (37.9%) from the floor, 4/27 (14.8%) from three point land, and 14/20 from the line.