PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine Red Claws, presented by Unum, won a defensive battle with the Erie BayHawks Sunday afternoon, 102-96.
The Red Claws (2-0) were led by Boston Celtics two-way player Jabari Bird, who led all scorers with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Daniel Dixon added 20 points, while Trey Davis scored 17 off the bench. For Erie (0-2), Josh Magette led the way with 20 points and 16 assists, while Jordan Mathews added 19 points.
Bird started the scoring in the first quarter, with a quick bucket. Maine and Erie traded baskets before an early timeout call by the Red Claws. Magette and Mathews provided the early offense for the BayHawks, as Erie jumped out to a 15-10 lead. Mathews scored 10 points in the first quarter alone. Erie surged to a nine-point lead before Bird started to get Maine back into the game. Bird’s third effort putback made it 22-17 BayHawks. Then Bird’s four-point play cut it to 22-21 – a personal 7-0 run for Bird. Devin Williams’ back-to-back slams gave the Red Claws a 26-24 lead late in the period – and Craig Sword’s 3 at the buzzer gave Erie a 28-27 lead after one.
Physical play dominated the early part of the second quarter – with the two teams trading buckets. Magette’s behind-the-back feed to Sword for the jam put Erie up 40-34 – Trey Davis’ 3-point play cut Maine’s deficit to three. Davis then dropped in a 3-pointer to tie the game at 40 – and the Red Claws then re-gained the lead on a pair of Jon Holmes free throws with 4:09 to play. Magette dropped in a 3 late in the quarter to put Erie up three, and Erie held a 56-55 lead at the break. Maine was just 3-for-13 (23.1 percent) from downtown.
The third quarter began very slowly for both teams. The BayHawks took a 67-58 lead on a DeAndre Daniels 3-pointer – Andrew White’s driving lay-in and Bird’s ensuing lay-in got the Red Claws back going offensively. Davis continued his strong offensive game. His trio of free throws made it a 71-70 game. Davis got the bounce on a floating shot at the end of the quarter, and suddenly Maine held a 75-71 lead.
The BayHawks opened the fourth quarter on a 6-0 run to regain the lead. Kadeem Allen’s first bucket of the game was a deep 3 to give Maine a 78-77 lead. After a technical foul on Bird, Mathews buried a triple for Erie – the BayHawks led 83-82 with 8:00 to go. Daniel Dixon dropped in a huge three, and Bird’s slam made it a 91-88 lead with 5:00 to go. Daniels and Sword knocked down back-to-back triples to give Erie the lead back at 94-91. The Red Claws pulled away late in the 4th – Dixon’s feed from Allen made it 99-94 Red Claws – after Magette missed a 3, Maine put the game away at the free throw line.
The Red Claws shot 43.2 percent (35-for-81) from the floor, and 20.8 percent (5-for-24) from 3-point range. Maine was 27-for-38 from the free throw line. Erie finished shooting 40.4 percent (38-for-94) from the field, 27 percent (10-for-37) from downtown, and 10-for-12 from the charity stripe.