The Maine Red Claws, presented by Unum, erased a 14-point deficit to take down the Delaware Blue Coats, 132-124.
The Red Claws (1-1) were led by their Two-Way Players – Walt Lemon led all scorers with 29 points and 5 steals, while P.J. Dozier scored 26, grabbed 7 rebounds and dished out 9 assists. Jeff Roberson added 19 points and 8 boards for Maine, while Marcus Georges-Hunt and Vitto Brown scored 11 points each. Sheldon Jeter scored 10 off the bench as well.
Delaware (0-2) was led by former Red Claw Demetrius Jackson, who scored 26 in the loss.
The Red Claws opened with an emphatic alley-oop dunk by Dallas Lauderdale, set up by Dozier. The Blue Coats made 2 of their first 3 shots from downtown, taking an early lead. Georges-Hunt and Roberson led the offensive charge for Maine. Delaware led 19-16 early. Haywood Highsmith paced the Coats with 10 points in the 1st quarter, and Delaware led 40-32 after 1.
In the 2nd, the Red Claws drove to the basket to try to get themselves back in the game, with Georges-Hunt and Lemon scoring in the paint. Jeter kept Maine in the game, but Delaware continued to shoot well from downtown, while the Red Claws continued to struggle. The Claws finally broke through, with Dozier and Roberson hitting back-to-back three’s to cut the deficit to 53-49. The Red Claws cut it to 1 point, and Roberson’s 3 pointer made it 61-59 Maine, and Brown’s three on the next possession extended the lead. At the half, Maine led 66-63. After starting 2-11 from three, Maine made 5 of its last 6 to end the half.
Shake Milton opened the 2nd half with a 3 for Delaware, which Lemon answered with a driving lay-up. Maine opened the 3rd on a 9-4 run. Dozier buried a contested three for his 20th points, and Lemon’s steal and lay-up put the Claws up 80-72. The Red Claws led 97-90 after 3 quarters of play.
In the 4th, Dozier drove and scored to put the Claws up 99-94. Lemon’s athletic lay-up extended the lead to 7 points. Matt Farrell knocked in a three to cut the deficit down for Delaware, but Vitto Brown’s clutch bucket the other way righted the ship. Lemon’s dazzling lay-up put the Claws up 120-111. Dozier’s bucket with a minute to go helped seal the deal.
Maine shot 53.3% (48-90) from the floor, 35.5% (11-31) from three-point range, and 25-30 from the free throw line. Delaware shot 45.8% (44-96) from the field, 37% (17-46) from downtown and 19-21 from the charity stripe.