January 5

Springfield remains perplexing to Red Claws

The Armor have four wins, and three have come against Maine.

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

The Maine Red Claws put together a two-game winning streak. Then Springfield came to town.

The Armor have only four wins this season but three are against the Red Claws, including a 98-90 victory Saturday night before 2,440 at the Portland Expo.

MarShon Brooks paced Maine with 24 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. Romero Osby also scored 24, including 4 of 6 3-pointers. Chris Wright had 14.

Springfield’s newly acquired guard, Darius Johnson-Odom, scored 20, one of the six Armor players in double figures.

Maine dropped to 7-7 and is 3-3 against Springfield (4-11) this year. The teams will meet three more times this season.

“It’s how the game goes sometimes,” Springfield Coach Doug Overton said. “Play a team enough, you get familiar with them.”

But while the Armor have struggled, Overton was quick to point out, “defensively, we are one of the top teams in the league.”

That showed in the second quarter when Springfield stifled the Red Claws, holding them to 13 points and 29 percent shooting.

The Armor began the quarter with a 16-0 run and went on to take a 55-38 halftime lead.

“We came out sloppy and they jumped on us in the first half,” Osby said.

Springfield then held off several Maine rallies, never surrendering the lead.

Maine played without guard Chris Babb, nursing a sore shoulder. Babb is one of the Red Claws’ leaders in points, rebounds and assists. His absence, combined with Springfield’s pressure, helped knock the Red Claws out of sync.

Both teams shot 42 percent. Springfield’s defense forced 16 Red Claws turnovers.

The Armor also won this game on the free-throw line, making 25 of 35 while Maine clanged its foul shots, making only 12 of 20.

Osby helped key Maine’s comeback hopes, hitting three straight 3-pointers in the third quarter.

Maine closed to 84-82 with 4:43 to play.

The Red Claws had two possessions with a chance to tie or take the lead, but missed three shots and turned the ball over.

Down 88-84, Maine missed four more shots. Springfield finally rebounded. Dennis Horner hit a 3-pointer with 1:06 left for a 91-84 lead. The Red Claws could not rally again.

The Red Claws come right back to the Expo at 5 pm. Sunday against the Tulsa 66ers.

NOTES: The Red Claws waived guard Kam Taylor, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last week. The move made room for Osby to return from a shoulder injury. … Marcel Anderson had seven assists for Maine. … The Armor added Johnson-Odom on Friday from the D-League player pool. Johnson-Odom, who played briefly for the Lakers last year, was waived by Los Angeles in training camp. He played four games in the Chinese Basketball Association before returning to the U.S. … The Sky Squad, a group of dunking entertainers, provided the halftime show. They will be back for Sunday’s game.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at:

kthomas@pressherald.com

Twitter: KevinThomasPPH

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