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The Journal Gazette

  • Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Mad Ants guard Tra-Deon Hollins cuts across the Memorial Coliseum floor while Agua Caliente Clippers players hustle back on defense Monday night. 

Monday, January 14, 2019 10:10 pm

Thibodeaux's patience pays off in Ants' victory

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

Travin Thibodeaux knew he'd eventually get his chance to shine. It came tonight at Memorial Coliseum – in a 105-90 victory over the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario – and with the way the roster of the surging Mad Ants is always changing, he’ll get more opportunities in the future.

“Yes sir, it has been difficult being so patient,” said Thibodeaux, a rookie out of the University of New Orleans. “I’m a competitor at heart. But I’ve been patient, waited for my turn. I’ve cheered my teammates on and it was my time tonight.”

Thibodeaux had 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting and 10 rebounds, as he played a career-high 32 minutes, 28 seconds. He came in having played only two games since Dec. 17 – totaling no points and 27 rebounds – and his season averages had been 1 point, 3.3 rebounds and 9.2 minutes in nine games for the Central Division-leading Mad Ants (14-11).

Edmond Sumner led them Monday with 29 points on 14-of-21 shooting (video highlights above), after he returned Sunday from a five-day stint with the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, who recalled Davon Reed.

Alize Johnson remained with the Pacers and Ike Anigbogu sat out Monday with his recurring knee soreness.

Agua Caliente (12-12) was paced by Angel Delgado, a prospect of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, who had 30 points on 13-of-20 shooting and 24 rebounds, believed to be the most ever given up by Fort Wayne.

“It was a fun battle,” Thibodeaux said of going against Delgado. “I like to play a physical style of play and so does he. It was good going against an interior player like him.”

The Austin Spurs’ Dwayne Jones totaled 23 rebounds against the Mad Ants on Jan. 20, 2010.

Rob Gray totaled 19 points and Stephan Hicks had 17 points and 13 rebounds for the Mad Ants, who have won five of their last six games.

"We really just played hard and played together and never got down on each other," said Thibodeaux, 6-foot-8. "We were just continually uplifting each other and that's what worked for us."

The Clippers’ Anthony Bennett, the first overall pick of the NBA’s 2013 draft, had 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting and three rebounds.

For more on the game, go to www.journalgazette.net after 1 a.m.

jcohn@jg.net