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The Journal Gazette

  • Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Mad Ants guard Edmond Sumner, left, prepares to drive past Travis Trice II of the Wisconsin Herd on Friday at Memorial Coliseum.

  • Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette The Mad Ants' Stephan Hicks, left, readies to pass the ball Friday at Memorial Coliseum as he's defended by James Young of the Wisconsin Herd.

Friday, January 04, 2019 11:30 pm

Mad Ants protecting ball better

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

The Mad Ants' 125-120 victory tonight over the Wisconsin Herd was the product of a lot of teamwork and productivity. All five starters scored in double figures, something that has only happened twice this season, led by Stephan Hicks' 32 points and 15 rebounds. Alize Johnson had 19 points with nine rebounds, though his double-double streak ended at 11 games. Davon Reed scored 18 points, Edmond Sumner 17 and Omari Johnson 14.

But something else has changed over the Mad Ants' last two games, both victories: They've been protecting the ball.

"If you look at Sunday's game (a 110-104 loss to Greensboro), we turned the ball over 25 times for 26 points. And we were up nine with five minutes left. If we don't turn the ball over, we've got a really good chance of winning every game," Mad Ants coach Steve Gansey said.

"The last game (a 101-93 victory over Westchester), we had 14 turnovers. Our goal is 12. Tonight, we had 11 turnovers, still for 17 points, and they're one of the top transition teams in the league. So we've just got to keep that turnover limit down."

The wild thing is when the Mad Ants turn the ball over, they really turn it over, and they know it. On Sunday, they were tossing the ball wildly all over the court or into the stands.

"We've just got to be smart with the ball," Gansey said. "Some of these bad turnovers, like travels or throwing the ball all over the place, we've just got to play better and protect the ball."

Tonight, they were much more concise with the passing. And if they did take a chance, it paid off. 

Tra-Deon Hollins was particularly good with 12 assists and one turnover.