December 29, 2013

Babb at his best but Red Claws still lose

It’s a bittersweet homecoming for the former Iowa State standout.

By Bill Kopatich
Special to the Telegram

DES MOINES, Iowa — It was a bittersweet homecoming for Maine Red Claws guard Chris Babb on Saturday.

Babb led Maine with 21 points but the Red Claws still lost 101-94 to the Iowa Energy. Babb came into the game averaging 9.7 points, but had nearly doubled his season average in the first half with 16 points.

Babb was a two-year starter for Iowa State, which is just 35 miles north of the Energy’s home floor. He was able to reconnect with some of his former teammates before and after the game, including Energy guard Chris Allen.

“It was a blessing to play at Iowa State and be able to see some of my former teammates,” said Babb, who made three 3-pointers.

“Iowa State was a special place for me and I don’t think many former teammates stay in touch as much as I have with my former teammates.”

The Red Claws (5-6) lost for the second consecutive day to the Energy (9-4). Babb was held to 8 points in Friday’s loss, but a pep talk before Saturday’s game by Fred Hoiberg, his head coach at Iowa State, seemed to do the trick for Babb.

“Fred and I have a great relationship,” Babb said.

“We text each other at least once a week.”

The Red Claws squandered a 21-point first-quarter lead Saturday. The Energy scored the final 13 points of the game.

“We played great for two and a half quarters, but we seemed to get stagnant after that,” Babb said.

“We’re going to have to find a way to play better.”

Frank Gaines also played well for the Red Claws, tossing in 17 points. He scored a combined 43 points in the two games against the Energy.

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