PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine Red Claws (4-0) used a 39 point third quarter offensive barrage to open up a 30 point lead over the Delaware 87ers on Sunday at the Portland Expo Building and never looked back, sealing up a 120-102 victory to improve to a franchise best 4-0 start.
For the second time this season, the Red Claws poured in a team record 18 three pointers. Maine struggled early in the game, allowing the visiting Sevens to take a 24-17 lead before Maine picked up a few quick baskets to cut the lead to three heading into the first break, trailing 26-23. The Red Claws opened the second frame with six quick points to take a 29-28 lead and traded baskets until the midway point of the quarter, taking a 40-38 lead at 5:24 of the second and never looking back. The Red Claws rode the hot hands of Christian Watford and Celtics assignee James Young, who each scored 12 in the half to go along with Tim Frazier and Chris Babb’s nine apiece to open up a 61-51 half time lead.
The Red Claws offense exploded in the third quarter as Watford added 10 more to his tally and Frazier had seven more. Center Asauhn Dixon-Tatum added nine off the bench for Maine to pace the offense while the defense held the Sevens to 19 in the quarter. Maine shot an efficient 16-28 (57.1%) in the quarter while holding Delaware to 5-24 (20.8%). Coach Morrison sat his starters for most of the fourth quarter, allowing Sherwood Brown to come off the bench to pace the Red Claws with nine points in the decisive frame. The Sevens, led by JaKarr Sampson and Victor Rudd’s 12 points apiece put up 32 points in the frame to close the lead to 18, but the Red Claws were able to coast to the victory.
Leading Delaware was Rudd (25), with Sampson (17), Ronald Roberts (13 points, 10 rebounds), LaQuentin Miles (10) and Kenny Hall (10 points, six rebounds) rounding out the Sevens in double figures.
The Red Claws were paced by Watford (22 points, 13 rebounds) and Young (22 points, eight rebounds). Frazier added 16 points to the victory and handed out six assists, while Omari Johnson (11 points, five rebounds) rounded out Maine’s scoring leaders. Dixon-Tatum was a force on both ends of the floor, contributing nine points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots in the win.