PORTLAND - The Maine Red Claws (16-8) ran their winning streak to six games, knocking off the Springfield Armor (6-15) for the fourth time this season in a game they never trailed at the Portland Expo Building on Monday afternoon, 106-92.
The Red Claws and Armor traded hoops early but with just under three minutes gone in the first quarter an Andre Barrett alley-oop to Boston Celtics' assignee Fab Melo gave Maine the lead for the rest of the contest. Springfield was able to keep the score close thanks to the strong play of Ben Uzoh and James Mays, but using a balanced attack with eight players scoring in the quarter, the Red Claws took a 28-18 lead into the first break. Springfield got out to a hot start at the beginning of the second quarter, but Maine's Micah Downs and Chris Wright had answers every time the Armor looked to go on a run. DaJuan Summers, returning to the Maine lineup after missing two games due to strained quadriceps, closed out the half with six points, part of a 13-4 run to go into halftime with a 56-41 lead.
Springfield stayed strong to start the second half, getting 12 points from Carleton Scott to keep Maine within striking distance, but Downs and Xavier Silas were there to slam the door every time the Armor thought they might get back into the game. The teams traded points throughout the closing minutes of the quarter as the Red Claws entered the final frame with an 83-67 lead. The fourth quarter began with a Springfield 5-0 mini-run to cut Maine's lead to 11, but that was as close as they would get as the Red Claws got scoring from Downs, Silas, Wright and Summers to finish off Springfield, 106-92.
The Armor were led by Willie Reed's 22 points and eight rebounds. They also got strong performances from a Mays' double-double (21 points, 11 rebounds), Uzoh (17 points, eight assists, five rebounds) and Scott (12 points, seven rebounds).
The Red Claws were led by Summers' eighth double-double of the season (23 points, 10 rebounds). Also key in the Maine victory were Downs (17 points, eight rebounds), Wright (13 points, six rebounds), Silas (13), Champ Oguchi (12) and Andre Barrett with a double-double of his own (10 points, 12 assists).
The Red Claws and Armor will face each other again on Thursday night at 7 PM in Springfield.