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Mad Ants
vs. Rio Grande Valley
When: 7:30 p.m. today
Where: Memorial Coliseum
at Iowa
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Where: Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, Iowa

Ants must shake off loss quickly

– Duane Ticknor had his out, but he zipped past it like a man missing his exit.

“Any effect from the fact that it was your third game in five nights?’ the Mad Ants coach was asked Wednesday, in the wake of Fort Wayne’s nearly wire-to-wire 106-99 stumble against Sioux Falls.

“Well, we have two more in the next three nights,” he pointed out.

And then: “It’s the time of year when it’s happening to everybody. You can’t blame that.”

Or in other words: Welcome to February in the NBA D-League, where there are no valentines, only an itinerary bent on taking all the spring out of a player’s step.

After one day to think about what happened Wednesday, the Ants get right back after it tonight, taking on Rio Grande Valley at Memorial Coliseum. Then it’s on to Des Moines, Iowa, where the Iowa Energy awaits Saturday.

After that, the Ants get a 13-day break, one they’ll undoubtedly need after a six-games-in-10-days stretch.

They looked like a weary team Wednesday against Sioux Falls, if only between the ears.

Twenty-six turnovers ensured they would play from behind, and often from well behind, the entire night; their inability to stop the kick-out three-pointer – the Skyforce dropped nine triples in 20 attempts – and generate any sort of post offense in the absence of the injured Luke Harangody did the rest.

Ticknor had 11 bodies available to him and played every one at least 12 minutes, but, save for the group that cut an 11-point deficit to three across the last 4:19 of the first quarter, nothing worked.

“We went up and down the lineup trying to find a combination,” he said. “We made a little run at the end of the first quarter, that group did a good job. Otherwise, … I can’t really point to one thing and say that we did it well tonight.”

bensmith@jg.net

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