Maine Celtics Fall to Delaware at Expo
PORTLAND, ME - The Maine Celtics led by as many as 16 points in the fourth quarter, but a furious comeback gave the Delaware Blue Coats a 112-109 victory.
Two-Way guard JD Davison led Maine (5-5) with 31 points, six rebounds and seven assists. DJ Steward tallied 28 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Jordan Schakel notched 11 points and a career-high 10 rebounds and Taylor Funk added 10 points.
Delaware (6-3) got 28 points and five rebounds from Two-Way guard Ricky Council IV, with David Duke Jr. dropping in 20 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Chris Clarke had 18 points and 10 rebounds. Patrick McCaw and Two-Way guard Javonte Smart had 13 points, and Jared Brownridge had 12.
Layups from Melvin Frazier Jr. and Smart got the Blue Coats off and running while the Celtics went scoreless for over two minutes before Schakel's three got them on the board. Davison's three knotted it up 6-6 in what was a physical, low-scoring game out of the gates. With Delaware leading 12-9 at the first timeout, Schakel came out of the huddle and evened it up on his second triple of the game. Funk drilled one from the logo to keep Maine's small lead intact before the Celtics took control to end the quarter; a 12-5 run to end the first gave Maine a 37-27 lead after one.
Delaware responded with a 15-5 run as the second began, tying the game and eventually taking a lead as the run built to 22-7. Rim pressure from Council and Duke generated quality looks for the Blue Coats, which immediately called for timeout when Schakel quelled their run with another three. A Steward pull-up at the elbow, a layup from Schakel and a putback dunk from Banks gave the Celtics the lead back; Banks' strong play in the first half earned him the second-half start. Maine again closed the quarter strong, building the lead to 63-55 by halftime.
The Celtics lead got out beyond 10 early in the third off a rim-rattling dunk from Walsh. Steward and Davison led the charge offensively in the second half for Maine, combining for 24 points over the last two quarters. Maine's size advantage against a Blue Coats squad with nobody taller than 6-foot-6 contributed to a significant rebounding edge, 20-8, that bolstered a strong quarter. A quick 8-0 run from Delaware got them back within striking distance late, and Knight's 1-for-2 in the closing seconds made it 90-78 after three.
After stretching the lead to as much as 16 points, the Celtics let go of the rope down the stretch. The Blue Coats ripped off a game-breaking 20-0 run, taking the lead in the final seven minutes behind six-straight 3-point makes. Steward's 1-for-2 ended a four-minute cold spell to make it 100-98 in favor of the Blue Coats; despite the momentum shift, the game was still well within reach for Maine. Slater and Davison sank a pair of huge threes to keep the Celtics alive as the game wound down, with Davison making play after play on both ends of the floor.
Council's deep three off the catch gave Delaware a 110-108 lead with 42.7 left and silenced the Expo crowd. Davison made an emphatic chase-down block to save a crucial bucket after a Celtics miss and then drew a foul on the rebound, but only made one of the two ensuing free throws. Duke's 1-for-4 mark from the line gave the Celtics a chance to tie it in the end, but Schakel's buzzer-beating three went long, and the Blue Coats completed the furious comeback.
The Celtics and Blue Coats will finish off the back-to-back with another game at 7:00 PM tomorrow, Dec. 7. Maine then hosts Raptors 905 on Sunday, Dec. 10.
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