PORTLAND, Maine – The Maine Red Claws (19-29), presented by Unum, saw their home schedule come to a close with a 123-114 loss to the league-leading Fort Wayne Mad Ants (32-16) on Monday night at the Portland Expo Building. Maine finished the season with a 12-12 home record.
The Mad Ants opened the game on a 7-2 run and quickly extended their lead to seven midway through the period as Trey McKinney Jones connected on a pair of jump shots and Will Frisby drove in for an inside bucket. Frank Gaines scored five points in quick succession and Zeke Marshall converted a dunk to give Maine their first lead of the night at 13-12 with 4:27 remaining, but Fort Wayne had the answer as Tim Ohlbrecht and Tony Mitchell combined for six points to give the visitors a 25-23 edge after one. The Red Claws used strong play off of the bench in the second quarter, with Damen Bell-Holter pouring in nine points and Julian Mavunga adding six to Tyshawn Taylor’s seven and Wright’s six points as the Red Claws tied the contest at 61 apiece heading into the locker room. Mitchell had nine and reserve Chris Porter added eight for the Mad Ants in the frame.
Fort Wayne came out of the locker room hot, opening with a 14-4 run led by McKinney Jones and Matt Bouldin on its way to 26 points while holding the Red Claws to 17 in the quarter to take an 87-78 cushion into the final 12 minutes. In the fourth quarter, Mitchell took over for the Mad Ants, chipping in 19 of his game-high 32 points in the period. Gaines and Taylor paced Maine with 12 and 11, respectively and Bell-Holter added five more as the teams played even throughout the quarter, scoring 36 points apiece.
Other key contributors in the Mad Ants win were Ron Howard (19), McKinney Jones (19), Bouldin (14 points, six rebounds), Will Frisby (12 points, six rebounds), Porter (12 points, seven rebounds) and Ohlbrecht (11).
The Red Claws were led by Rookie of the Year candidate Gaines, who scored 27 points. Other double-figure scorers for Maine included Taylor (26 points, six rebounds), Gaddy (15 points, eight assists), Bell-Holter (14 points, six rebounds) and Chris Wright (11 points, five rebounds).