Maine hit six 3-pointers in the first quarter and jumped out to a 20-point lead. The Red Claws were just getting started in front of the first sellout crowd of the season.

The Red Claws finished with 21 3-pointers, one shy of the team record, and set a franchise record with their 28th win of the season, beating the Erie BayHawks 131-106 on Sunday at the Portland Expo.

The 3,046 in attendance were treated to an offensive show with some strong early defense. The Red Claws set the tone early with a 13-2 run. They led 37-17 after the first quarter and 67-46 at the half. Maine took a 32-point lead into the fourth quarter.

“We wanted to get off to a fast start,” said Chris Babb. “The last time we played Erie at their place (March 8), we got off to a slow start and lost (122-119). We limited Erie to one shot and shot the ball well.”

The crowd at the Expo, full of youngsters wielding purple thunder sticks, didn’t go unnoticed.

“One of our biggest advantages is our great home crowd support. We’re also comfortable shooting here,” said Babb.

Rodney McGruder scored 23 points and Omari Johnson had 19 to lead five Maine players in double figures.

Johnson had five 3-pointers, while McGruder, Tim Frazier (15 points), Jason Calliste (13) and Sherwood Brown each had three.

Maine made 22 3-pointers in a 121-108 win over Westchester on Feb. 7 at the Expo.

“We shot the ball well early and played good defense,” said Coach Scott Morrison.

“We held Erie to 4 of 20 shooting in the first quarter. We kind of slipped defensively after the first quarter.”

The Red Claws went 40 for 73 from 3-point range in a pair of wins this weekend. They beat Iowa 124-93 on Friday.

“We’ve had a great season shooting. We put the team together with that in mind,” said Morrison.

Frazier started the rain of 3s when he hit from just left of the top of the circle to make it 5-0.

Peyton Siva scored for Erie, but the Red Claws answered with a 13-2 run. Romero Osby, a 6-foot-8, 230-pound forward started the run when he scored on a drive, then Johnson hit his first 3-pointer to make it 10-2.

Maine used strong interior defense to throttle the BayHawks. Erie had a number of looks inside, but the Red Claws quickly closed.

“We were clicking from outside,” said Johnson.

“When you’re doing that, it helps to open up the middle for some pick and rolls which we are very good at.”

Erie’s play and shooting improved in the second quarter, thanks to Siva, a former University of Louisville guard, who scored 15 of his 17 first-half points in the second quarter.

The BayHawks couldn’t gain any ground as the Red Claws kept burying 3s. Brown hit a 3 in the midst of Siva’s hot streak. After Brown’s 3-pointer, the Red Claws would close the first half with 3s by Frazier, Andre Stringer and Calliste. Maine outscored Erie 30-29 in the second quarter.

Midway in the third quarter Stringer, Johnson and Babb hit three straight from behind the arc for Maine. The Red Claws had 17 3-pointers through three quarters. Mike Schachtner, McGruder, Brown and Calliste made 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to get Maine within one of the team record, but in the final minutes, Maine stopped looking for shots from beyond the arc.

Maine has nine games remaining, seven on the road, beginning Tuesday night at Grand Rapids.

“It’s our toughest stretch of the season,” said Morrison.

One of those games is at Erie (March 25).

“We’ve lost both of our games in their gym. We have to correct the mistakes we made tonight and keep pushing,” Morrison said.

Osby added 14 points for Maine, while Calliste and Berry each had 13, and Schachtner 11.

Siva and Drew Crawford each scored 20 points for Erie.

NOTES: Ralph Sampson III and Omar Reed were listed as inactive for the game. …

The Red Claws were 21 of 36 (58.3 percent) from 3-point range and 47 of 76 (61.8 percent) from the floor. The BayHawks shot 37 of 82 (45.1 percent) from the floor and 8 of 16 (50 percent) from beyond the arc. … Maine returns home for games with Westchester (March 27) and Grand Rapids (March 29) before finishing the regular season with games at Canton, Texas and Iowa.