Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Mad Ants guard Tra-Deon Hollins prepares to drive past the Delaware Blue Coats' Jared Brownridge at Memorial Coliseum on Friday night.
Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Mad Ants guard Edmond Sumner, left, defends the Delaware Blue Coats' Shake Milton at Memorial Coliseum on Friday night.
Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Mad Ants guard Rob Gray, left, guards the Delaware Blue Coats' Shake Milton at Memorial Coliseum on Friday night.
Friday, December 28, 2018 9:10 pm
Mad Ants' rally falls short
JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette
The Mad Ants’ 3-point shooting took them from the depths of a 22-point deficit to the lead against the Delaware Blue Coats tonight.
At one point, the Mad Ants made four consecutive shots, all from beyond the arc in the third quarter, to bring the building to life.
But it didn’t last as Fort Wayne lost 115-100 at Memorial Coliseum.
Rob Gray led Fort Wayne with 18 points, as Fort Wayne made 14 of 20 from 3-point range.
Alize Johnson had 17 points and 14 rebounds. Ike Anigbogu had 13 points and 16 rebounds.
Fort Wayne dropped to 9-9 and Delaware improved to 7-12.
It was Nickelodeon Night and the Mad Ants wore special “SpongeBob SquarePants” jerseys that were auctioned off to benefit the Mad Anthonys Children’s Hope House. A raucous crowd of 2,744 was on hand at Memorial Coliseum.
The Mad Ants’ next game will be 5 p.m. Sunday at the MTI Center at Trine University in Angola against the Greensboro Swarm.
The Mad Ants came in to the night as not a particularly fear-inspiring 3-point shooting team; they averaged 10.3 made 3-pointer per game (17th among the G League’s 27 teams) and their shooting percentage from beyond the arc was 35.3 (for a ranking of eighth).
The Blue Coats opened the game with a commanding 23-11 run, culminating with a Haywood Highsmith 3-pointer with 4:32 remaining in the first quarter.
Things didn’t really improve in the first half; a Jared Brownridge 3-pointer gave the Blue Coats a 47-29 lead with 6:23 left in the second quarter.
The lead was 62-48 at halftime, at which point Delaware had shot 51.1 percent and Fort Wayne 35.8 percent, though Edmond Sumner had 13 points on 4-of-13 shooting.
After falling behind 74-52 on a Cameron Oliver dunk, the Mad Ants began to show signs of life in the third quarter. An alley-oop from Tra-Deon Hollins to Stephan Hicks got things going with 5:09 left in the quarter, cutting the lead to 77-60, and then the Mad Ants made four consecutive baskets – all from 3-point range – with three in a row coming from Omari Johnson and one from Gray to cut the Delaware lead to 79-72 with 2:58 left in the quarter.
The Mad Ants took their first lead of the game with – of course – a 3-pointer by Omari Johnson that made it 82-80 with 11:20 remaining in the fourth quarter.
It was short-lived; a D.J. Hogg dunk with 5:14 left put the Blue Coats up 100-89.
Delaware was led by Shake Milton’s 21 points.