The Journal Gazette
Saturday, February 23, 2019 9:20 pm

Mad Ants squander lead, lose at buzzer

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

It started promisingly for the Mad Ants, but they squandered a 24-point lead en route to losing 100-99 to the Canton Charge tonight.

It was Fort Wayne’s fifth loss in its last six games.

A Davon Reed put-back with 11.6 seconds remaining gave the Mad Ants a 99-98 lead over the Charge. Canton’s Levi Randolph missed a jump shot with 5.4 seconds left, but Jaron Blossomgame’s tip-in at the buzzer cemented the victory for the Charge.

Blossomgame had 24 points and 10 rebounds for Canton.

Omari Johnson and Rob Gray had 28 apiece for Fort Wayne.

The Charge won the first half of a back-to-back series between the teams.

The Charge (15-23) has won three straight games on the heels of an eight-game losing streak. Fort Wayne is 19-20.

A crowd of 4,000 attended the game at Memorial Coliseum.

Johnson, who was 8 of 15 from 3-pointer range, had passed Moses Ehambe for second place on the G League’s all-time made 3-pointers list during Friday’s 119-112 loss to the Windy City Bulls at Hoffman Estates, Illinois.

Johnson came in to tonight with 538 career 3-pointers, short of Andre Ingram’s record 761. Earlier this season, Johnson passed Blake Ahearn for at 523.

The Mad Ants had Alize Johnson back from the NBA’s Indiana Pacers for a second straight game, but were unable to use him both nights because of a foot injury.

The Mad Ants took control of the game with a 19-2 run that gave them a 53-35 lead with 5:24 remaining in the second quarter, and it included this sequence: a Johnson put-back of a missed Davon Reed 3-point attempt; a Johnson 3-pointer; a Travin Thibodeaux drive; a Thibodeaux hook shot; and a Jovan Mooring step-back shot from the baseline.

Omari Johnson had 25 points in the first half, as Fort Wayne built a 65-43 lead, and that including Johnson’s 7-of-11 shooting from beyond the arc

The Charge clawed its way back and Sir’Dominic Pointer’s dunk with 9:43 remaining in the third quarter cut the Mad Ants’ lead to 89-85. Pointer’s 3-pointer with 8:58 left cut it to 89-88.

A Blossomgame tip-in with 5:59 left gave the Charge a 90-89 lead, and he did it again with 4:53 left for a 92-89 lead.

Notes: An all-female officiating crew worked the game. It included Ashley Moyer-Gleich, Kelly Broomfield and Stephanie Barksdale. While that’s not a first for the G League, it was the first time Mad Ants coach Steve Gansey had been in such a game. … The Mad Ants complete the home-and-home series with the Charge at Canton, Ohio, at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

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