PORTLAND, Maine – The Delaware 87ers (16-13) comfortably took down the Maine Red Claws (19-12) 109-90 to knot the season series at a game apiece. The win over the Atlantic Division-leading Red Claws snaps the Sevens’ three-game losing streak.
The victory also pulls the 87ers to within a half-game of the idle Canton Charge for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. The Charge play tomorrow as they try to protect the East’s final playoff spot.
The game got off to a slow start offensively, with both sides struggling to find a rhythm. Delaware’s defense far outperformed their offense. The team held Maine to 19 first-quarter points and forced seven turnovers. Head Coach Eugene Burroughs decided to give his second unit some burn midway through the opening quarter, and the reserves sparked the offense. After starting 7-20 from the floor, the Sevens closed out the first by shooting 5-6 and led 28-19 after 12 minutes.
Four different 87ers had multiple field goals, while both sides benefited from solid bench play, as 24 of the 47 combined points came from substitutes. The benches continued to battle as the game shifted to the second quarter.
The Sevens managed to hold on to their lead throughout the second period, not letting the Red Claws get any closer than three points during the frame. For the second straight quarter, the 87ers finished strong and ended the half up 53-44. Delaware’s Devondrick Walker poured in 12 on six shots in the first half, while Maine’s Ryan Kelly had 15 points at the half to lead all scorers.
Delaware picked up right where it left off in the third quarter. The starters began to get it going, and the Sevens played one of their best periods of the season, all things considered. The team outscored Maine 30-19, and extended their lead to 83-65 heading into the fourth.
The fourth quarter featured more of the same, with the Sevens preventing any significant threat for the rest of the game. Delaware had six players finish in double figures, led by Shawn Long’s 22 points. Long added 16 rebounds to earn yet another double-double. Dionte Christmas (21), Walker (19), Russ Smith (16), James Webb III (14) and David Laury III (10) also climbed above the 10-point threshold.
The Sevens stay in Maine for a rematch against the Red Claws on Saturday, Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. ET.