Heroes? There were plenty of those Sunday at Memorial Coliseum, where the Mad Ants escaped with a 105-103 victory over the Grand Rapids Drive that saw Fort Wayne recover from an eight-point deficit with 1:39 left.
“I don’t think you can ever give up on yourself. One minute and 39 (seconds), that’s a lot of time on the clock in the NBA G League,” said Fort Wayne’s Daxter Miles Jr.
Miles was one of the heroes, stealing a wild in-bounds pass from Tra-Deon Hollins to cement the victory in the waning seconds. So, too, was Walt Lemon Jr., whose drive for a basket off the glass with 16 seconds left gave Fort Wayne a 104-103 lead.
“I knew they’d played zone all game,” Lemon said, “so I knew I’d have some opportunity to get into the lane. We had four shooters out there … and I knew in crunch time that (their) guy tend to stay with the shooters. Ben (Moore) did a great job of setting me up with a great screen and I was able to come down against them.”
Lemon had 25 points and eight assists, Brian Bowen II had 20 points and Stephan Hicks added 16 for Fort Wayne.
Its biggest hero, though, may have been Grand Rapids’ Tra-Deon Hollins. With his team clinging to a 103-101 lead with 26.2 seconds left, Hollins was fouled on an in-bounds pass by Miles. But Hollins complained anyway and got a technical foul – Bowen hit the free throw – and Hollins proceeded to miss both his free throws. That set up Lemon for his drive and the Fort Wayne lead.
Grand Rapids had two chances to win or tie, including a drive by Dakarai Allen that ended with him being blocked by Alize Johnson.
The Mad Ants (20-22), who have eight games left in the regular season, are 1½ games out of the sixth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Grand Rapids (25-17), which plays host to the Mad Ants on Wednesday, was paced by Hollins’ 20 points and 12 assists.