PORTLAND, Maine -- The Maine Red Claws (7-3) remained perfect against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (3-9), winning their fourth match-up of the season, 109-99, at the Portland Expo Building on Friday night. The Claws, who have averaged 113 points per game against the Mad Ants, once again used their high-power offense to shut down Fort Wayne, which remains winless on the road.
Friday's contest certainly didn't start out in Maine's favor, as Fort Wayne forward Tony Mitchell came out strong, scoring the Mad Ants' first nine points. The Red Claws hung around, but Fort Wayne used a 10-2 run to close out the first quarter with a 30-20 lead.
Maine cut the lead to one with a 9-0 run to open the second quarter; Shelvin Mack's 12 points in the quarter led the charge. The teams traded 7-0 runs after that and battled back and forth through the remainder of the quarter with neither team being able to get a lead larger than four. A Xavier Silas buzzer-beater gave the Red Claws a 51-50 lead at halftime.
The halftime break did not cool the Red Claws, as an 11-2 and 14-4 run powered by double-doubles from Mack and Chris Wright pushed their lead to 82-69 after three frames. The fourth quarter was a back-and-forth battle, but Maine was able to maintain their double-digit lead, closing out the 109-99 victory.
Leading the way for the Mad Ants was a 30-point, five-rebound, four-assist effort from Ron Howard, who led all scorers. Also contributing were Mitchell (16 points, eight rebounds), Mike Anderson (16 points, six rebounds), JaJuan Johnson (15 points, five rebounds) and Sadiel Rojas (14 points, five rebounds).
The Red Claws were led by Mack's 27-point, 12-assist effort. They also got solid performances from Wright (22 points, 15 rebounds, four steals), Silas (19 points), Micah Downs (10 points, seven rebounds, five assists), Dajuan Summers (nine points), Chris Ayer (eight points, three blocks) and Fab Melo (eight points, six rebounds).
The Red Claws will host the Erie BayHawks tomorrow at 7 p.m. in the team's annual Holiday Party game. Special guests will include Santa and Mrs. Claus, and all kids in the audience will have the opportunity to join Red Claws mascot Crusher in the annual Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree kids' dance on the court.
The Mad Ants will also be in action tomorrow, traveling to Springfield to face the Armor at the MassMutual Center at 7 p.m.
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