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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, February 01, 2018 3:00 pm

Herd 108, Mad Ants 99: Quick thoughts

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

How it Happened

The Mad Ants got off to a fast start, leading by as many as 16 points at 33-17 at the end of the first quarter. They forced five first-quarter turnovers and held the Herd to less than 27 percent shooting in the opening 12 minutes. Glenn Robinson III scored his first basket of the season on a strong driving layup through a foul in the opening quarter. 

Robinson's shot showed some rust, but he got going before halftime, scoring three baskets in quick succession to help the Mad Ants extend their lead again after the Herd had gotten back within three points.

As he's been much of the season, Walter Lemon Jr. was a focal point of the offense for Fort Wayne, scoring 12 points in the opening half on 5 of 8 from the field, including a twisting layup plus a foul for the final basket of the half. The basket sent his team to a 58-44 advantage at the break.

The Mad Ants extended the lead at the start of the third quarter, but Wisconsin rallied again, slicing a 16-point deficit to as few as two at one point when James Blackmon Jr. knocked in a pull-up jumper. The game remained close until late in the third quarter, with DeQuan Jones drilling triples on back-to-back possessions from the same spot on the left wing to keep his team in front. At the end of three quarters, Fort Wayne led just 82-77. The Herd shot 68 percent in the third quarter to get back into the game.

Wisconsin hung around in the fourth quarter, eventually tying the score at 94 midway through the final session when guard Brian Williams flew over everyone for a putback dunk. The Herd went in front near the 4:30 mark when Joel Bolomboy hit a short jumper. 

The teams traded baskets until the final minute when a couple of possessions broke the Mad Ants. Lemon drove the lane, but got stripped and turned the ball over. On the ensuing trip down the floor, Jarrod Uthoff drove to the hoop, but got blocked emphatically at the rim. Bolomboy scored twice on the other end to put his team in command and the Herd would not trail again.

Player of the Game-Joel Bolomboy

Bolomboy made a plethora of big shots for the Herd, finishing with 24 points on 11 of 18 from the field. He was able to pile up a game-high point total despite going 0 for 4 from beyond the arc. The 24-year-old Ukrainian also had seven rebounds

Facts and Figures

Robinson finished with 12 points and three assists in 27 minutes in his first game of the season. ... Blackmon Jr. had 15 points for the Herd; his plus/minus was +15 in the second half. ... The Mad Ants' 3-game win streak is snapped, while the Herd stops a 5-game losing skid. ... DeQuan Jones continues his stellar play with 13 points on 5 of 8 from the field; he's averaging 23 points over his last five games and shooting better than 55 percent from the field. ... Fort Wayne shot 46 percent while Wisconsin got hot in the second half and finished at 51 percent, despite a 5 for 22 day from 3-point range. ... It was School Out Day at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum and the crowd was packed with kids on field trips.

What's Next?

The first-place Mad Ants are back in action Saturday at the Coliseum against the Long Island Nets (18-14). The game will tip off at 7 p.m. The Nets have won four of their last five, but will be playing the second game of a back-to-back after taking on the Erie Bayhawks on Friday. 24-year-old Milton Doyle leads the Nets with 22.3 points per game.

dsinn@jg.net