When Romero Osby returned to the Red Claws in early February following a stint in France, his biggest challenge was fitting in with a team much more successful than the 2013-14 version he left behind last winter.

At 6-foot-8 and 230 pounds, Osby looks the part of the bruising power forward, and rebounding is a significant part of his game. On Friday night, he showed a deft touch from the outside with four 3-pointers in six attempts as the Red Claws routed the short-handed Iowa Energy 124-93 before 2,388 at the Portland Expo.

“It’s been fun getting out here and meshing with some new guys,” Osby said, “learning how they play and trying to find my way within their system and not messing anything up.”

Osby scored a career-high 28 points and Omari Johnson came off the bench to score 26 as the Claws (27-13) ended a two-game skid with their most lopsided victory of the season.

After falling behind by seven in the early going, the Red Claws pulled to within one on a forced, buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Davion Berry to end the first quarter down 26-25. Maine then outscored Iowa 36-13 and never again saw the cushion dip below 19 the rest of the way.

Iowa had won five in a row before losing in Westchester on Thursday night after two of its players were called up to the parent Memphis Grizzlies. With only eight players available at the Expo on Friday night, three starters each logged more than 41 minutes.


“These guys had a tough turnaround with limited bodies,” said Red Claws Coach Scott Morrison of the Energy. “So we had the advantage in terms of legs and we had to capitalize on it, which I thought we did by playing a lot of guys.”

Maine’s 10 players logged between 12 and 31 minutes and every one of them hoisted at least one 3-pointer as the Claws finished 19 of 37 (51.4 percent) from long range, even better than they shot overall (51.2 percent).

“It’s easy to score when you can get out and run like that,” Morrison said. “To do that you have to get stops and rebounds. We kept them to seven offensive rebounds, which was probably a key to it.”

Point guard Tim Frazier nearly recorded his fifth triple-double of the season, finishing with 11 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. He didn’t play for the final 4:23.

“I apologized to him for that,” Morrison said, “but at the same time, it’s too risky of a situation to leave him in there when the game’s over. … That’s kind of a karma thing. If you put a guy in to try and pad his stats, he’s probably going to pad a sprained ankle at the same time. We can’t afford to lose Tim. That’s probably the most obvious statement I’ve made all year.”

“We got the W, man,” Frazier said. “That’s all that matters.”


Berry and Jason Calliste each added 13 points. Calliste and Johnson joined Osby with four 3-pointers.

Friday’s game was the 40th of Maine’s 50-game regular season.

The Red Claws burst out of the gate with a 16-4 record through their first 20 games. Since then, they’ve dealt with injuries, the NBA call-up of Frazier and a host of roster changes.

After a 4-6 stretch in January and early February, the Claws went 7-3 in their fourth 10-game stretch.

“This will be the toughest stretch coming up, this last 10,” Morrison said.

“If we can get two or three more wins that would be a big step toward the playoffs. But right now we’ve still got to focus one game at a time and we’ve got some work to do.”

After Sunday’s game against Erie, only two regular-season home games remain.

NOTES: Maine’s next victory would set a franchise record. The 27-23 slate in 2009-10 was the team’s high-water mark. … Osby entered the game having missed his previous 12 3-point attempts, dating back to mid-February. He was 10-of-15 overall Friday night. “I’ve got to give credit to my teammates for finding me and encouraging me,” he said. “They’ve been on me about knocking down some open shots.”

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