December 28, 2013

Red Claws lose a lead, then the game

Maine leads for much of the first three quarters before Iowa comes back, 110-107.

By Bill Kopatich
Special to the Press Herald

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Maine Red Claws allowed the Iowa Energy to stay close Friday night. Then they watched them win.

After the Red Claws led for most of the first three quarters, Iowa rallied for a 110-107 victory at Wells Fargo Arena.

Othyus Jeffers, who came into the game averaging 23.6 points, scored seven points in the fourth quarter, including five of the Energy’s final six points.

“He’s a great player,” said Red Claws forward Chris Wright. “He’s played in the NBA and he knows how to win. That’s what we’re going to have to figure out how to do.”

Jeffers wasn’t the only Energy player to hurt the Red Claws. Marquis Teague, who was re-assigned from the Chicago Bulls this week, scored 17 points in the first half, many of them on layups on dribble penetration after his crossover dribble.

“Marquis is also a great player, but we also have some great guards as well,” Wright said. “We’ll have to seal the deal next time.”

The Red Claws took an 87-80 lead into the fourth quarter after Corey Allmond banked in a 3-pointer from the left wing just before the third quarter ended.

Allmond then made another 3-pointer from the same spot to give the Red Claws a 92-82 lead early in the fourth.

“We played efficiently on offense,” Wright said. “We hadn’t been doing that the last couple of games. We just now have to find a way to win against (Iowa).”

The Red Claws seemed to be in control when Chris Babb made a 3-pointer for a 77-66 lead midway through the third but Iowa started to slowly cut away at the lead.

The Energy took their first lead of the second half on a 3-pointer from the left wing by Christopher Patrick to make it 102-101 with just over four minutes to play.

“We let this game get away,” Wright said. “We led for a lot of the game but we’ll figure a way to close out more games at the end.

Wright and Frank Gaines finished with 26 points each for the Red Claws, who dropped to 5-5. Iowa is 8-4.

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