Two victories in a four-game stretch may not sound like a lot, but it's definitely progress for the Mad Ants.
With their 113-111 victory tonight over the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Mad Ants are now 2-8 and worlds ahead of where they were, say, 10 days ago.
“I wouldn’t say we’ve turned a corner, but we’ve taken a step in the right direction,” Naz Mitrou-Long said. “We made some progress in the (108-105 loss to Texas on Friday). … I just thought we didn’t execute down the stretch. But then, ultimately, RGV played the same type of style and that prepared us and got us ready for tonight and we won.”
Mitrou-Long had 27 points, nine rebounds and six assists.
C.J. Wilcox had 22 points, including 7-of-11 shooting from 3-point range, but most of that came in the first half. Brian Bowen II added 20 points and 12 rebounds, and Stephan Hicks had 14 points and 10 rebounds, as Fort Wayne out-rebounded the Vipers 51-42.
"They shot 43 3s. Long shots are long rebounds," Mad Ants coach Steve Gansey said. "We've done this two games in a row. We've really harped on needing to gang rebound, all five. Bowen has been huge for us the last two games."
While the Mad Ants had their habitual turnover problems in the first half, when they trailed by as many as 13 points, they protected the ball better in the second half, finishing with 14 turnovers for the game.
And they had some key plays, such as D.J. McCall's late-game take of a charge.
“That’s something I picked up in college (for IUPUI),” McCall said. “A lot of one-on-one situations, since I’m not really a shot-blocker, I wanted to make sure I was set and outside the circle. I thought for a second the officials were going to reverse it (on video review), but I got lucky.”
McCall didn’t score but had six rebounds and three assists over 23:38.
(Video highlights of Bowen's game are above.)