PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine Red Claws, presented by Unum, got monster performances by P.J. Dozier and Vitto Brown to lead the Red Claws to a 131-122 win over the Erie Bayhawks on New Year’s Eve.
Maine (7-14) won its 2nd straight in style, with Dozier nearing a triple-double with 37 points, 8 rebounds and 13 assists. Brown finished with 30 points including 7 made three-pointers as well as 11 rebounds. Jeff Roberson led the bench with 13 points, Sheldon Jeter and Andrew White added 12 points, and John Bohannon scored a double-double with 10 points and 11 boards.
Erie (11-9) was led by Atlanta Hawks assignee Omari Spellman with 28 points and 14 rebounds. John Gillon added 27 points, and R.J. Hunter scored 22 points.
Dozier started the scoring with a driving lay-up, following that up with an alley-oop slam to Dallas Lauderdale. Former Red Claw R.J. Hunter picked up where he left off in his last game (a 46 point performance vs. Delaware) by scoring 5 quick points. Vitto Brown and Sheldon Jeter hit back-to-back three’s to give Maine a 16-15 lead. Hunter knocked in a three to make it a 7 point lead for the Bayhawks late in the period, and a late run gave Erie a 36-28 lead after 1. Hunter scored 10 points in the 1st quarter.
After Lauderdale’s alley-oop, Omari Spellman scored a three-point play to start the 2nd quarter for Erie. Brown buried another three to make it a 1 point game. Dozier gave the Red Claws a 44-43 lead at the free throw line. Maine and Erie would trade baskets and leads back and forth, with Brown and the Red Claws opening a 5-point advantage. Jordan Sibert’s dunk got it back to 63-62 Claws. Dozier and Jeter knocked in threes to lead Maine on a 9-1 run. When the dust settled on the half, the Red Claws had a 72-68 lead. Maine shot 59.5% (25-42) from the floor in the first half, including 10-20 from three-point range. Spellman led all scorers with 23 points at the break, while Dozier had 20 on 6-9 shooting.
In the 3rd, Dozier picked up the scoring with 4 quick points. Dozier and Brown carried the Red Claws to a sizeable lead, while John Gillon and Spellman kept Erie close in a very high-scoring game. Dozier’s three-point play put Maine up 102-92 late in the period. Maine held a 105-94 lead after 3, with Dozier needing just 5 rebounds for a triple-double going into the 4th.
Sibert got Erie back in the game in the 4th, knocking in a 3 to cut the deficit to 6. White and Dozier continued to pace the Claws, with Jeff Roberson knocking in a big three. Gillon knocked in a three to get it back to 4 at 118-114. Jeter answered with a three of his own. Brown hit a big three, only to have Gillon bury a trey the other way. Brown answered with 5 consecutive points to put the game.
Maine shot 49.5% (46-93) from the field, 42.9% (18-42) from three-point range, and 21-33 from the free throw line. Erie shot 46.7% (42-90) from the floor, 39.5% (17-43) from beyond the arc, and 21-36 from the charity stripe.