Bench Scoring Not Enough in Home Opener
PORTLAND, ME - The Maine Celtics, presented by Unum, got in an early hole and could not climb out of it Friday night, falling in their home opener to the Delaware Blue Coats, 114-103.
Maine (2-1) was led by Chris Clemons, who finished with 22 points off the bench. Jaysean Paige added 21 off the bench as well. Theo Pinson and Juwan Morgan added 11 points each in the loss. Delaware (2-0) was led by Jaden Springer with 21 points. Shaquille Harrison chipped in 20 points, mostly in the first half. Haywood Highsmith added 19 points in the win.
Pinson opened the scoring with a pull-up bucket from the free throw line, followed by an Arcidiacono lay-in. Maine and Delaware traded buckets early - Hauser's three put Maine up 7-5. The Blue Coats would then explode, going on a 19-0 run - Braxton Key's bucket made it 22-7 Delaware. Morgan stopped the run with a triple of his own. Shaquille Harrison lit it up for Delaware, scoring 10 points in the 1st quarter. Jaysean Paige provided a spark off the bench for the Celtics, but Delaware led 37-21 after one.
In the 2nd, Chris Clemons got the hot hand, making his first three three-pointers. Paige dropped in a three as Maine opened the period on a 19-8 run and cut the lead to 5. From that point, Delaware closed the quarter on a 19-2 run, with Harrison leading the charge. Harrison's fast-break dunk got the Blue Coats bench fired up, and Delaware took a 64-47 lead into the break. Delaware finished the half shooting 55.3% (26-47) from the floor, and 43.8% (7-16) from downtown. Maine shot 50% (19-38) from the floor and 36.4% (8-22) from beyond the arc in the first half.
Maine opened the second half with some offensive firepower - Juwan Morgan's dunk got the crowd into the game. Jared Brownridge continued to keep the Blue Coats hot - making his first four three-pointers. The 3rd quarter started evenly scoring-wise but Delaware maintained its large margin. Paige continued his strong night, scoring on two straight possessions. When the dust settled on the period, Delaware still maintained a big lead, up 92-74.
In the 4th, Eric Demers' first points as a pro followed by a Clemons three got the Celtics to single-digits at 92-83. Clemons dropped in another trey to get it to 8. Luke Kornet buried a three late, but Highsmith answered with a three of his own. Maine out-scored Delaware 56-50 in the second half, but it was too little, too late. The Blue Coats shot 47.2% (42-89) from the field, 41.9% (13-31) from three-point range, and 9-19 from the free throw line. Maine shot 50.6% (41-81) from the floor, 33.3% (14-42) from beyond the arc, and 4-7 from the charity stripe.
Maine and Delaware return to action on Sunday when the two square off for a rematch at 1pm.
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