Near Triple-Doubles Not Enough for Maine
Portland, ME - The Maine Red Claws, presented by Unum, erased a 12-point deficit to take an 8-point lead, only to eventually fall to the Windy City Bulls, 120-112 Sunday at the Portland Expo.
Maine (28-13) was led by Bryce Brown with 18 points. Tacko Fall was one blocked shot away from a triple-double, with 16 points, 14 rebounds and 9 blocks. Jaysean Paige also flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 15 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists. Vincent Poirier, on assignment from the Boston Celtics, Yante Maten and Kaiser Gates all finished with 15 points.
Windy City (17-25) was led by Adam Mokoka with 27 points. Daniel Dixon added 24 off the bench, while Simisola Shittu added 21 points in the win.
Tacko started the scoring early with a three-point play. Tremont Waters picked up two early fouls, and Windy City capitalized, with Adam Mokoka and Jaron Blossomgame scoring quickly and giving the Bulls an early 9-3 lead. Fall continued to dominate inside, but Mokoka's three put Windy City up 9. Poirier entered and provided instant offense, scoring 7 straight for the Claws. After a big Poirier block led to Justin Bibbs points, the Red Claws trailed 31-28 after 1.
In the 2nd, Bryce Brown and Jaysean Paige hit back to back three's. Off of a Tacko block, Gates hit a three to put Maine up 39-38. Former Red Claw Daniel Dixon buried a pair of threes to put the Bulls back on top. Maine answered with a flurry of fast breaks, but still trailed 51-47. Gates' put-back cut it to 2. Yante Maten's three late put the Claws up 1, and the Red Claws led 61-60 at the half.
The Red Claws opened the 3rd on a tear, with Edwards slamming home a fast break to get the crowd into it. Brown followed it up with a three to put Maine up 73-65. Mokoka made a three, followed by a Dixon three, to tie the game at 73. The Red Claws and Bulls would change leads multiple times. Dixon free throws on a Tacko Fall flagrant foul followed by a Mokoka three put Windy City up 4. The Bulls led 92-88 after 3.
In the 4th, Ferrakhon Hall's second and third efforts were rewarded, and his lay-up put Windy City up 8. Maine chipped away at the free throw line. Poirier's hook shot cut it to 101-100. Mokoka's driving lay-up put Windy City up 3. The two teams would go back-and-forth, but costly turnovers down the stretch cost Maine the lead and ultimately the game.
Maine shot 43.8% (42-96) from the floor, 30.6% (15-49) from three-point range, and 9-19 from the free throw line. Windy City shot 41% (43-105) from the field, 37.2% (16-43) from the beyond the arc and 12-20 from the charity stripe.
The Red Claws return to action Tuesday against Delaware.
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