Suns Stun Red Claws
Portland, ME - January 12, 2019 - The Maine Red Claws, presented by Unum, had an 11 point lead with 9:10 to go, but fell to Northern Arizona Saturday night, 106-99, in front of a sold out crowd at the Portland Expo.
Maine (8-17) was led by Vitto Brown with 23 points and 7 rebounds. Boston Celtics Two-Way Player P.J. Dozier finished with 15 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists, while Justin Bibbs added 15 points. Celtics Two-Way Player R.J. Hunter, making his Red Claws season debut, led the bench with 15 points on 6-11 shooting, and Archie Goodwin added 10 points off the bench in the loss.
Northern Arizona (4-24) snapped a 14-game losing streak with the win. The Suns were led byb Hollis Thompson with 22 points, and George King with 20 points.
The Red Claws started the game quickly, with White burying a three to give Maine a 5-2 lead early. The two teams would go back and forth, with NAZ taking a 5 point lead thanks to George King. Hunter dropped in his first basket of the game with a long three to give Maine a 24-23 lead. Retin Obosohan's driving dunk at the buzzer gave Northern Arizona a 29-24 lead after 1.
In the 2nd, Brown took over the game, dropping in back-to-back three's. Brown scored 17 points in the first half, including 4 three's. Dozier and Hunter helped extend the lead to 11 points. After a Goodwin technical foul, the Suns got back into the game. Aaron Epps beat the clock, and then Dexter Miles stole the ball and beat the buzzer, and just like that, the lead was just 51-49 at the half. Maine shot 47.5% from the field (20-42) in the first half, and 33.3% (7-21) from downtown. Northern Arizona shot 41.9% (18-43) from the floor in the first half, and just 4-11 from beyond the arc.
Things started well for the Red Claws in the 3rd, with Dozier feeding Dallas Lauderdale for the alley-oop jam, extending the lead to 67-61. The Red Claws finished the period strong, with Brown slamming home a put-back, and Bibbs dropping in a three. The Suns hung around, but Goodwin's lay-up at the buzzer gave Maine a 78-71 lead after 3. In the 4th, White's jumper gave the Red Claws an 11-point lead with an 82-71. Thompson and the Suns came back. Thompson scored 7 straight points for Northern Arizona, and in the blink of an eye, the game was tied at 84. Peter Jok came to life, giving NAZ the lead. It was a lead they would never relinquish. Bibbs kept it close by making 7 free throws late in the game, but Maine got out-scored 35-21 in the 4th quarter to drop the game.
Maine finished shooting 45.1% (37-82) from the field, 30.2% (13-43) from three-point range, and just 54.5 (12-22) from the free throw line. Northern Arizona shot 48.8% (41-84) from the floor, 33.3% (8-24) from beyond the arc, and 16-19 from the charity stripe.
The Red Claws hit the road for two games next week, at Captial City on Friday and at Canton on Saturday. Maine returns home on Jan. 24 for a showdown with Grand Rapids. Tickets are on sale now by calling 207-210-6655 or visiting MaineRedClaws.com.
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