Tuesday, March 11, 2014
By DUANE RANKIN Special to the Press Herald
ERIE, Pa. - Still perfect on the road.
The Maine Red Claws blew a double-digit, first-half lead, but rebounded to edge the Erie BayHawks 113-111 Thursday night before 2,613 fans at Erie Insurance Arena.
"We're just trying to bring a new model to the team of sticking together," Maine forward Micah Downs said. "Our two home games, we kind of got divided as a team when things got tough.
"... If we stick together, we're going to be a problem for a lot of teams."
Downs scored a game-high 27 points to lead Maine while Shelvin Mack added 23. Mack was 12 of 12 from the free- throw line in the fourth quarter to keep Erie (2-2) at bay.
"Shelvin is a winner," Maine Coach Mike Taylor said. "He knows how to win. He knows how to play. Very intelligent out there. Great floor general."
The Red Claws (3-2) will try to take that road magic back home where they are 0-2 for games Saturday against Fort Wayne and Sunday against Canton.
"That's what we talked about in the locker room after the game," Taylor said. "... I think we'll be focused. We know they are going to be battles."
In Thursday night's win, the Red Claws were down 98-90 with 5:50 left in the game, but went on a 14-4 run to take a 104-102 lead with 3:19 left.
"Erie had some runs, we had some runs, but I'm really proud of our guys," Taylor said. "They fought. They worked together. I think our smaller lineup toward the end of the game made a big difference for us."
The Red Claws had six players score in double figures with one being former NBA player DaJuan Summers.
Coming off the bench, Summers scored all 12 of his points in the second half.
"Just getting back into a rhythm," Summers said. "It felt good. Knowing when to pick my spots. Staying aggressive. Felt better in the second half."
Maine acquired Summers out of the player pool Monday.
"He gave us a big lift," Taylor said.
Xavier Silas had 15 points off the bench for Maine. Chris Wright added 14 while Chamberlain Oguchi chipped in 10.
Boston Celtics rookie Fab Melo had six points, four rebounds and three blocks.
"Most teams in the D-League don't have that versatility," Summers said. "It's going to be fun and exciting to play."
Maine was up by as many as 11 points in the first half, but trailed 41-40 at halftime. Erie closed out the second quarter on a 21-9 run.
Downs had 10 points in the first half. Keith Benson had 12 first-half points for the BayHawks. Benson had nine points in that 21-9 run and finished with a team-high 23 points.
Maine and Erie have a total of nine games scheduled against each other.