Des Moines, IA – The Maine Red Claws, presented by Unum, used a huge 3rd quarter to pull away and then held on to beat the Iowa Wolves, winning on the road Friday night, 127-121.
Maine (8-4) had plenty of reinforcements from the Boston Celtics in the game, but was led by Yante Maten, who finished with 26 points and 16 rebounds for his 6th double-double of the season. Carsen Edwards, on assignment from the Boston Celtics, scored 17 points in his Red Claws debut. Fellow Celtics assignee Romeo Langford added 8 points in the win. Two-Way player Tacko Fall returned to action after missing the last 5 games with a knee injury, recording 13 points and grabbing 5 rebounds. Kaiser Gates added 17 points in the win, while Bryce Brown scored 15. Justin Bibbs added 13 points.
Iowa (6-7) was led by Jaylen Nowell with 23 points.
Brown picked up right where he left off last game, dropping in a three and then dishing to Maten for an easy bucket, and Maine led by 5 early. A Gates three made it 10-4 Red Claws early. Fall got into the action quickly, scoring on a dunk to put Maine up 9. Iowa came back, and when Jaylen Johnson made his third bucket of the quarter, Iowa took a lead and led 31-28 after one period of play.
In the 2nd, the Red Claws quickly re-gained the lead, with Tacko leading the charge. Maten’s three-point play made it 44-39 Red Claws. Jaysean Paige fed Maten for the easy deuce to put Maine up 9. Kelan Martin stopped the run with a three ball for the Wolves. Brown buried a fast-break three to make it 57-50 Claws. Brown continued his hot shooting, and Edwards got into the box score, draining a three. Maten and Brown carried the Red Claws offense in the first half, and Maine led 64-61 at halftime. Maten led Maine with 13 points, while Fall and Brown each had 11 in the first half. The Red Claws shot 54% (25-46) at the half, and 47% (8-17) from beyond the arc. Iowa shot 50% (25-50) from the floor but only 29% (5-17) from three-point range.
Maten opened the 3rd with a tip-in for two, and Justin Bibbs knocked in a three to make it 71-63. Gates dropped in a three to put Maine up 11. Edwards buried a three, and Gates splashed home another triple and the Claws suddenly led 84-69. Edwards’ nifty spin move plus the foul made it an 18-point lead. The Red Claws out-scored Iowa 37-18 in the 3rd quarter to take a commanding 101-79 lead.
In the 4th, Edwards and Langford scored back-to-back buckets to extend the lead even further. Brown’s easy lay-in put the Red Claws up 30 at 113-83. Iowa wasn’t done. Martin dropped in a three to get it to 120-101. Battle’s floater got it to 15. Sheldon Jeter’s driving dunk off a Paige steal stopped the run. Still, the Wolves hung around. Brown’s steal and dunk, followed by Brown’s three-point play, and in the blink of an eye it was a 7 point game at 124-116. Trevon Duval’s three-point play made it 124-119 with :45.4 left. The 36-11 Iowa run got the Wolves right back into the game. The Red Claws would make their free throws down the stretch and hang on to win despite getting out-scored by Iowa 44-26 in the 4th.
Maine shot 51% (47-92) from the field, 37% (15-41) from downtown, and 13-16 from the free throw line. Iowa shot 47% (46-98) from the floor, 26% (9-35) from beyond the arc, and 14-21 from the charity stripe.
The Red Claws return to action Sunday at Grand Rapids. It is the final game before the NBA G League Winter Showcase in Las Vegas, NV.