PORTLAND, Maine – The Maine Red Claws used defensive prowess to hold on and defeat the Westchester Knicks Saturday night, 97-92.
Maine (14-14) was led all night by Boston Celtics assignee Guerschon Yabusele, who finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Abdel Nader, also on assignment, finished with 20 points and nine boards, while Celtics Two-Way Player Kadeem Allen finished 4 assists shy of a triple-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists. Anthony Bennett finished with 16 points on 5-9 shooting. Westchester (21-11) was led by Xavier Rathan-Mayes with a 25-point, 10-rebound, 10-assist triple-double.
Bennett started the scoring early with a three-ball, followed by quick buckets by Yabusele and Dixon. Yabusele made his first three shots, including a three to make it 16-7 not even 5:00 into the game. Nader continued the hot shooting outside for Maine, knocking in a three of his own. Luke Kornet continued to shoot well for the Knicks, scoring 13 of Westchester’s first 22 points. Westchester took a 24-23 lead on a Xavier Rathan-Mayes hoop and the foul. The Knicks led 32-30 after one.
In the second, several turnovers dominated the early part of the period, with Westchester opening up a 40-30 lead. The Red Claws came back, with Nader driving to the basket for two and dishing to Bennett for a corner three on the next possession. Just like that, it was a one-point game at 44-43. The Red Claws re-gained the lead on another Bennett three, as Maine went on a 22-7 run. The Knicks answered, and the game was tied at 54 at the break. Yabusele and Bennett led the Claws with 16 points each at halftime.
Allen opened the 3rd quarter with an easy lay-up. Allen and Yabusele paced the offense to a seven-point lead in the first 3:00. Allen continued a torrid pace in the third, scoring 15 points in the quarter. Billy Garrett’s three-point play brought Westchester back, giving the Knicks a 79-78 lead. The Knicks led 81-80 after three.
In the fourth, Nader’s bucket gave Maine the lead. Dixon’s three-point play extended it, but Kornet’s bucket gave Westchester the lead back. Nader buried a tough three to make it 89-88 Maine, and Dixon’s corner three made it a 4 point game. Yabusele buried a deep three to make it 95-90. A three point game in the final minute, Yabusele’s crucial offensive rebound and free throws put the game away. Maine out-scored Westchester 17-11 in the 4th. The Red Claws shot 38.9 percent (35-90) from the field, 32.4% (11-34) from downtown, and 16-21 from the free throw line. Westchester shot 39.8 percent (35-88) from the floor, 31.3 percent (10-32) from beyond the arc, and 12-16 from the charity stripe.