Portland, ME – The Maine Red Claws, presented by Unum, stumbled to the finish line on a prolific scoring night at the Portland Expo, losing to Rio Grande Valley, 118-110.
The Vipers (10-3) have now won 10 straight games. Maine (7-4) has not beaten RGV since the inaugural season in 2009-10, and has lost 16 straight to the Vipers.
The game was a shootout between Andrew White and former Red Claw R.J. Hunter. White finished with 38 points on 14-17 shooting, including tying a franchise record with 9 made three-pointers. Hunter led all scorers with 40 points on 14-22 shooting, including 7-14 from beyond the arc. Hunter also had 7 rebounds in 43 minutes.
Boston Celtics Two-Way Player Jabari Bird added 19 points in the loss, Daniel Dixon with 15 off the bench, Josh Adeyeye scored 11 and Devin Williams added 10. For RGV, Denver Nuggets Two-Way Player Monte Morris added 24 points in the win.
The Vipers started shooting well early, with Hunter dropping in a three-pointer. White answered that with a trey of his own, and Bird’s inside game helped lead the Red Claws offense early. White accounted for 8 of the team’s first 14 points, as Maine took an early 14-10 lead. White continued the hot shooting, putting the Claws up 10 with another trey, then buried yet another to make it 27-14 Maine. The Vipers closed out the quarter on an 8-0 run, and Maine held a 30-23 lead. White scored 16 of Maine’s 30 in the quarter.
Williams ended the scoring drought for Maine with a hoop and the foul to open the 2nd quarter. Josh Adeyeye’s three points followed up by a three from long distance made it 38-25 Red Claws in the early going. Houston Rockets assignee Chinanu Onuaku rallied the Vipers with an emphatic dunk, but Daniel Dixon answered with a pull up three. Maine held a 47-37 lead halfway through the quarter. White buried a corner three for his 21st point to give the Claws an 11 point lead. The Vipers again went on a run late in the quarter, but White hit his 6th three of the half to stop the bleeding. Maine went into the half with a 62-52 lead. White finished the half with 24 points on 9-11 shooting (6-8 from downtown). Maine shot 44.9% (22-49) from the field and 11-31 (35.5%) from beyond the arc. RGV shot 40.5% (17-42) from the floor and just 23.1% (3-13) from downtown.
Adeyeye opened the scoring in the 3rd with a lay-in courtesy of a nice pass from White. Hunter and Danuel House nailed back-to-back threes and suddenly the Vipers had cut it to 64-61. Bird and Jon Holmes righted the ship, heating up the offense on a 10-0 run. Still, RGV came back. Hunter’s deep three made it 76-74 Red Claws. Trey Davis came to life in the 3rd, scoring five straight points to help get Maine’s lead back to 9. Hunter wouldn’t let up, dropping in another three-ball to make it 83-80. White stopped the run with two more three’s. But again, Hunter buried a tough three at the buzzer. When the dust settled on the 3rd quarter, Maine led Rio Grande Valley 91-90.
Hunter opened the 4th with his 7th three of the game, giving RGV a 93-91 lead. Hunter’s fast break slam extended the Vipers lead to 5. Monte Morris helped a 11-0 run for RGV, as the lead suddenly ballooned to 105-94. White hit his 9th three to try to get the Red Claws back into the game. Adeyeye’s triple cut it to 109-101, and Kadeem Allen’s three-point play cut it back to a 5 point deficit. The Red Claws could get no closer. After scoring 62 points in the 1st half, Maine only scored 48 in the 2nd half, and just 19 in the 4th. Maine wound up shooting 40.6% (39-96) from the floor, and 33.9% (19-56) from downtown, and 13-15 from the free throw line. Rio Grande Valley shot 48.8% (40-82) from the field, 31.3% (10-32) from beyond the arc and 28-36 from the charity stripe.