Armor Clinch Playoff Berth, Fall in Overtime to Maine
PORTLAND, ME – If Maine Red Claws’ (18-29) fans hoped for a repeat performance of the last home showing against the Springfield Armor (27-19), they certainly were not disappointed. The Red Claws once again beat the first ranked team in the East in front of the home fans with a 110-101 victory in overtime.
Maine’s recent spate of injuries continued when center Hamady Ndiaye, expected to start tonight’s game, was sidelined just prior to the game due to back spasms. Despite the loss of their 7-0 centerman, Maine started out strong and led 29-24 going into the second frame. The Armor outscored Maine 26-19 in this period to lead by 2 at halftime, a lead they kept going into the final quarter. Powering ahead in the beginning of the fourth, Springfield led by as much as 11, but a scrappy Maine team, led by the trio of Morris Almond, Cedric Bozeman and Kenny Hayes, did not give up. With a three pointer by Hayes in the last seconds of play, Maine tied the Armor to go to their first overtime of the season. Maine dominated this final three minutes of play with three three-pointers to win 110-101.
The Adidas Player of the Game, Maine’s Cedric Bozeman, was just three assists shy of a triple-double (22 points, 14 rebounds, 7 assists) in his home premier. Lawrence Hill, in just his second game back coming off an ankle injury, had 16 points and 12 rebounds, his second home double-double in a row. Kenny Hayes and Morris Almond, the NBA D-League leading scorer, led all players in scoring with 25 points apiece while Anthony Kent chipped in 10 of his own.
Springfield also had two players score double-doubles on the night: Jeff Foote with 15 points and 11 rebounds and L.D. Williams (11 points, 10 rebounds). Lance Hurdle and Jerry Smith co-led their team in scoring with 19 points each. JamesOn Curry chipped in 14 of his own and, tying Cedric Bozeman with 7 assists, was just three assists shy of a double-double.
The Red Claws will close out the 2011-12 regular season next weekend with a two-game set with the Tulsa 66ers on Friday, April 6 and Saturday, April 7. Both games are at 7 PM. The April 6 game will feature a special appearance by Maine’s own US Olympic luger Julia Clukey. April 7, the final regular season game of the year, will be Fan Appreciation Night with reusable tote bags, courtesy of Quirk, to the first 1,000 fans in celebration of Green Week, and team photos to all fans, courtesy of The Portland Press Herald. The Bucket Boys will perform at halftime and there will be a full team autograph session on the court following the game.
The Armor will head to Erie to face the surging BayHawks on Tuesday, April 3 before closing on the regular season with a swing through Texas, taking on the Austin Toros Friday, April 6 and the Texas Legends on Saturday, April 7.