Wednesday, March 12, 2014
By JIM SMITH Special to the Press Herald
CANTON, Ohio - The Maine Red Claws fell behind, made adjustments, then came away with a 123-115 victory against the Canton Charge in a D-League opener Friday night.
Micah Downs, the former Gonzaga player now with the Red Claws, powers his way to the basket, driving against Kevin Jones, the former West Virginia player now with Canton.
Kris Joseph, who finished with 28 points and eight rebounds for the Maine Red Claws, drives past D’Aundray Brown of the Canton Charge. Joseph helped the Red Claws open the season with a 123-115 victory on the road.
Photos by Ray Stewart/CantonRep.com
SUNDAY: Red Claws at Fort Wayne
FRIDAY: Los Angeles D-Fenders at Red Claws, 7 p.m.
"Every game is like a puzzle, and you have to prepare to figure it out and make the right adjustments," said Mike Taylor, the Red Claws' first-year coach.
After being outscored 30-19 in the opening quarter, the Red Claws outscored the Charge in each of the final three, including a 40-point third quarter.
"I'm very proud of this team. They kept their emotional discipline and composure," Taylor said. "This is a league about playing through mistakes and we were having trouble with the pick and roll, but we played big after our adjustments. I'm proud of these guys."
After Fab Melo picked up his second foul in a half-minute span in the first quarter, the Red Claws remained positive and patient.
"We wanted to take advantage of our depth," said Taylor and the team responded, outscoring Canton in the second quarter and narrowing the halftime gap to eight points.
Arinze Onuaku of Canton had a double-double in the first half with 11 points and 10 rebounds, but was scoreless with one rebound in the second half.
Xavier Silas scored nine points on back-to-back traditional three-point plays, then a long-range jumper, all in a span of a little more than a minute and a half during the 40-point third quarter for Maine.
The period also featured two thunderous dunks by Chris Wright, a first-round pick by the Red Claws in the D-League draft, and Maine was able to open a 92-88 lead by the end of the period.
The Red Claws and Charge exchanged baskets for most of the final period, with Canton unable to make up the difference.
Kris Joseph, a rookie from Syracuse and a Boston Celtics draft choice, finished with 28 points and eight rebounds for Maine. Wright accounted for 24 points to go with six rebounds.
Kevin Jones had 26 points and 14 rebounds for the Charge.
click image to enlarge
Xavier Silas of the Maine Red Claws drives to the basket between Kevin Jones, left, and Arinze Onuaku of the Canton Charge during the Red Claws’ 123-115 victory in an opener Friday night.