SPRINGFIELD, MA- Jerry Smith scored a season-high 31 points, but the Armor dropped a 104-97 decision to Maine tonight in front of 4,211 fans inside the MassMutual Center. The loss snapped the Armor’s four-game winning streak against the Red Claws dating back to last season.
The Armor (9-10) eased out to a 24-23 lead over the Red Claws (7-13) after one quarter, but in the second, Maine erupted. After a Eugene Spates jumper to tie the game 26-26 early in the second quarter, the Red Claws went on a 17-0 run over the next 5:14 to take a commanding 43-26 lead. Six Red Claws scored during the run, led by five of Courtney Pigram’s 22 points.
The Armor responded with a 15-5 run to close the half, fueled by a pair of Preston Knowles’ three-pointers, to cut the deficit to 48-41 at the break.
In the third, Smith scored 16 of his game-high 31 points to spur the Armor to a 71-70 lead through three quarters. The Armor ceded the lead early in the fourth and although the team managed to hang around, the Red Claws hit their free throws late to seal the victory.
In addition to Smith’s 31 points, the Armor’s Knowles (19 points), L.D. Williams (18 points) and Jeff Foote (13 points) scored in double figures. Foote added 12 rebounds, including eight on the offensive glass. The Armor grabbed a season-high 23 offensive rebounds and out-rebounded Maine 48-34.
The Red Claws were led by Kenny Hayes (22 points), Pigram (22 points) and Xavier Silas (17 points). Former Boston Celtic, Ricky Davis, chipped in 15 points and Justin Brownlee added 10 and 8 rebounds.
The two teams will be back in action tomorrow evening when the Red Claws host the Armor at the Portland Expo at 5:00 PM. The Armor return home to play the Red Claws again on Thursday, Jan. 19 at 7:00 PM.