OREM, Utah – Try telling the Red Claws that Thursday’s game didn’t mean anything.

Two nights after being eliminated from the playoffs with a 35-point loss to Utah, the Red Claws hung tough with the Flash down the stretch, but fell short in overtime, 105-99.

DeShawn Sims scored a game-high 30 points and Antonio Anderson and Magnum Rolle each added 17 for the Red Claws, two nights removed from scoring just 77 points in the blowout loss.

Craig Winder (12 points) and Jamar Smith (10) also scored in double figures for Maine.

Maine extended its road losing streak to seven games and fell to 3-18 away from the Portland Expo. The Red Claws also lost for the first time in four overtime games this season.

The Red Claws (16-30) opened the fourth quarter with a 13-4 run and led 84-76 with 8 minutes remaining. Utah took its only lead of the fourth quarter on three Brandon Costner free throws with 55.9 seconds remaining.

The Red Claws missed on two chances in the final 15 seconds to win in regulation. Winder was wide right on an off-balance layup attempt and Rolle’s three-pointer bounced off the rim at the horn.

In overtime, Rolle’s slam dunk tied the score at 96-96, but Costner connected on a three-pointer with 53.9 seconds remaining. The lead grew to five points before an Anderson three-pointer made it 101-99.

Utah made 4 of 5 free throws in the final 14 seconds to put the game out of reach.

Costner scored 23 points and Ronald Dupree added 21 points for the Flash (27-18).

The Red Claws scored just 17 points in the third quarter as Utah regained the lead 72-71. Maine’s bench combined to score 13 points, just four after halftime.

The short-handed Red Claws, who released Mario West for personal reasons on Wednesday, started shaky and committed four turnovers in the first 2:40.

But soon after, the shots started falling and the Claws started running. Smith’s three-pointer beat the first quarter buzzer for a 27-24 lead — an advantage that grew as large as eight at 50-42 in the second quarter on a Winder three-pointer.

Their 54-47 halftime lead marked just the fifth time all season the Claws led at the break on the road. Maine shot 50 percent from the floor and made 6 of 11 three-pointers in the first half.

The Claws continue their five-game road trip Saturday for the first of back-to-back games at Bakersfield.


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