The Capital City Go-Go returned to the confines of the Entertainment and Sports Arena after more than two weeks away. They had a tough go at it going 1-3 on the road and struggling a bit at the Vegas Showcase. They showed some early signs of jet lag last night as well before squeezing out a one point victory over the Maine Red Claws.
The Red Claws jumped on the Go-Go quick and had a scorching hot start. They made eight threes in the opening frame which gave them a 36-26 lead at the end of the first quarter. Trey Davis had 12 points (4-5 from three point range) and Jaysean Paige was problematic for Go-Go defenders adding nine points. Tacko Fall was extremely disruptive in the paint on the defensive end. On the GoGo’s opening possession, the Red Claws forced a 24 second violation after Chris Chiozza attempted to drive to the basket but was discouraged by Fall’s presence and he ended up kicking the ball out causing the turnover. Fall essentially clogged the lane by himself and forced the Go-Go to mainly attack from the outside. They disrupted the Go-Go’s offense and did not allow them to establish a rhythm which resulted in a 10 point lead.
The Go-Go were clearly frustrated in the first quarter as their offense was stagnant and disjointed. They had two shot clock violations in the quarter and were not able to get any easy baskets due to Fall’s presence in the lane. The Go-Go started to find some footing after a couple of midrange jumpers from Justin Robinson and finding some windows in the Red Claws defense. They still however went into the midway point with an eight point deficit. Chris Chiozza struggled in the first half finishing with two points and three turnovers. The Go-Go were out rebounded 24-15 and shot a putrid 39.1% from the field and 21.7% from three point range. All things considered, being down eight was not a bad position to be in. Garrison Matthews and Jerian Grant helped the Go-Go keep space scoring a combined 27 points in the half.
The GoGo turned it up defensively in the third quarter and closed the gap to two by the end of the period. They sped the Red Claws up by pressuring their perimeter players and causing turnovers. Although they weren’t able to take the lead, they had the Red Claws flustered and had some positive energy going into the fourth quarter. In the last period, the GoGo stuck with their game plan. After the Red Claws started off hot from three, they shot 4-19 from distance through the final three quarters. Defense has been a staple of the GoGo’s season as they caused 25 turnovers resulting in 33 points while only committing 10 turnovers themselves equaling only 10 points for the Red Claws.
The GoGo closed out the game strong with a 35 point fourth quarter. Chris Chiozza eventually found his way scoring 12 points in the second half. The GoGo spread the wealth as three players scored 20+ points and Jalen Jones just missed the cut with 19. Chiozza also had a huge steal with 11 seconds left in the game and Justin Robinson sealed the deal with two late free throws giving Capital City their only lead of the game. The GoGo had six players score in double figures and shot 19-20 from the free throw line. Their free throw efficiency, ability to cause turnovers and late game heroics were enough to overcome their poor shooting and inability to rebound. The Red Claws had a 55-35 advantage on the boards. Capital City finished the game shooting 38-94 (40%) from the field and 12-43 (28%) from deep. They definitely stole one at home. On paper they lose this game more often than not.
The Go-Go are looking to get back on the right track heading into the latter part of the season. Last night’s contest was an anomaly as they usually are potent offensively but it was refreshing that they were able to sustain their defensive intensity despite their struggles on the other side of the floor. They will be back in action against the Windy City Bulls on Sunday. If they can get back on track offensively they should be in a good place to notch another win.