Friday, December 24, 2010

Red Claws nipped by Iowa

The Iowa Energy held a 25 point halftime lead before withstanding a furious comeback from the Maine Red Claws to escape with a 108-107 win Thursday night in Des Moines.

Iowa used a huge 2nd quarter, fueled by three unlikely stars, to open up a 64-39 lead at the break. Energy guard Stefhon Hannah, forward Michael Haynes and center Scott Vandermeer combined for 37 points as the Energy outscored Maine 43-21 in the 2nd quarter. The three reserves entered the game averaging a combined 5.2 points per game.

Maine battled back in the second half. Led by DeShawn Sims, the Red Claws cut the lead to 84-69 at the end of the 3rd quarter and went on a 13-0 run mid-way through the 4th quarter to two with 5:21 left to play.

After a pair of Othyus Jeffers pushed Iowa’s lead to six, Maine’s Sims and Matt Janning combined for an 8-2 run to tie the game at 96-96 with 3:00 remaining. After the teams exchanged free throws, Janning scored on a layup to knot the game at 102-102 with 1:00 remaining.

With the time winding down, Hannah launched a 3-point attempt that was wide. Jeffers grabbed the rebound for the Energy and scored to put Iowa up two. After a Jamar Smith miss, Hannah knocked down two free throws to extend the lead to four. With under :30 left, Smith drilled a 3-pointer to cut the lead back to one.

Iowa’s Curtis Stinson was fouled and drilled both free throws to make the lead three again. After an Energy foul, Maine guard Mario West made two free throws to make the score 108-107 with 3.6 seconds remaining. After an Energy timeout, the ball was inbounded to Hannah who cut away from the defense and dribbled out the clock, giving Iowa their 10th victory of the season.

Jeffers led Iowa with 22 points and 13 rebounds while Kyle Weaver added 22 points and 10 rebounds. Hannah (16 points), Haynes (15) and Vandermeer (10) all finished with career highs.

Sims led Maine with 32 points and 14 rebounds while West contributed 17 points.

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