Painted on the parquet floor at midcourt of the Portland Expo is a white map of Maine encompassing the Red Claws logo.

With the shot clock winding down in the final minute Saturday night, Andre Stringer found himself slightly east of Rumford, well beyond the 3-point line that sits 23 feet, 9 inches from the basket.

Stringer squared his shoulders, leaped, and uncorked a jumper that swished through the net to clinch a 111-100 Red Claws victory over the Santa Cruz Warriors before a crowd of 2,810.

It was Stringer’s sixth 3-pointer of the game and gave Maine a seven-point lead with 41 seconds remaining.

Santa Cruz didn’t score again.

“I wanted to get my feet set to make sure it was at least a good shot going up and it happened to go in,” said Stringer, who stands a shade under 5-foot-9. “I appreciate the basketball gods for that one.”

Santa Cruz (12-7) had beaten the Red Claws 101-88 Friday night by holding Maine to a season-low shooting percentage of 35.6 percent and dominating underneath the basket. On Saturday the Red Claws (16-4) shot a little better from the field (41.8 percent) and sank 18 3-pointers, including four each from Chris Babb (21 points, eight rebounds) and Sherwood Brown (12 points, six rebounds).

“It was really important for us to show what type of team we are, to bounce back like that,” said Stringer, who finished with 23 points. “Especially coming off a loss like that, when we didn’t play well, we didn’t rebound well. A lot of the things we pride ourselves on, we didn’t do well.”

As they did Friday night, Santa Cruz jumped out to an early double-digit lead that reached 12 late in the first quarter. The Red Claws surged back to take a lead in the second quarter before Santa Cruz closed the first half with a 10-0 run to make it 58-51 at intermission.

The deficit remained seven before Stringer sparked an 18-5 run by making a trio of free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt, sinking a 27-footer and adding two more 3-pointers after Babb hit a pair.

The Claws threatened to run away with the game in the fourth after building a 99-85 lead but Santa Cruz scrapped back to 102-98 with just under two minutes remaining.

It was still anybody’s game a minute later with the Red Claws scrambling to get off a shot. Omari Johnson kicked it out to Stringer near midcourt and Stringer let fly from 34 feet.

All that remained was for Stringer and Tim Frazier (18 points, seven assists, six rebounds) to sink a few free throws to sew up the victory, Maine’s 10th in a dozen home games.

“The guys were a little bit beat up but I was proud of the way they sucked it up and battled,” said Red Claws Coach Scott Morrison. “We went small for a lot of the game and that required a little extra effort on the glass and I thought we did a better job of that than we did (Friday night) and that was a big key.”

Mychel Thompson led the way with 27 points, and James Michael McAdoo and Golden State rookie 7-footer Ognjen Kuzmic each had 12 points and 10 rebounds.

The Red Claws return to action Thursday as the No. 1 seed in an eight-team tournament at the five-day D-League Showcase in California.

NOTES: Santa Cruz lost its leading scorer earlier this week when the Utah Jazz signed Elliot Williams to a 10-day contract. Chris Babb and Tim Frazier are the Red Claws most likely candidates for such short-term tryouts with NBA clubs.

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or

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