Oshae Brissett has played in the NBA – 19 games with the Toronto Raptors last season – and he may be proving he deserves another shot.
He had a game-best 26 points and 11 rebounds Saturday, as the Mad Ants defeated the Iowa Wolves 98-93 in double overtime at Orlando, Florida. But Brissett’s biggest play of the game came at the defensive end, where he absorbed a Lindell Wigginton charge to set up a Naz Mitrou-Long drive for a 95-93 lead.
“Coach is always talking about digging in at the end of games and being locked in,” said the 6-foot-7 Brissett (whose video highlights are above). “I just saw (Wigginton) going in recklessly, so I stepped in and took the charge right there.”
The Mad Ants (2-5) won as much because of their intangibles as their scoring. After Mitrou-Long’s basket, Amida Brimah blocked a Wigginton shot, and a Brissett rebound of a miss by teammate Brian Bowen II set up Jalen Lecque for two free throws and a decisive 97-93 lead.
“We’ve got pretty tough guys,” Mad Ants coach Tom Hankins said. “In every game, we’ve competed. And it is hard to do that when the ball’s not going in the basket or when you’re missing free throws. It’s just difficult, it’s not easy, and we’ve got to give (our) guys credit for staying with it.”
Fort Wayne’s Devin Robinson had 17 points and 10 rebounds. Bowen had 12 points.
For Iowa (0-7), Isaiah Briscoe had 19 points with nine rebounds. Canyon Barry added 18 points.
The Mad Ants, who have eight games remaining in the single-site regular season, face Raptors 905 (4-2) Sunday. That game has a number of storylines, namely that Brissett played last season for that team, which has former Mad Ants star Alize Johnson. Last season, Hankins was one of the coaches with the Indiana Pacers in charge of developing Johnson, who is averaging 14.3 points and 12.8 rebounds in the Orlando bubble.
Brissett, 22, came into Saturday averaging 15 points and 10.5 rebounds, then showed his upside again by making 4 of 12 shots with two assists, one steal and one shot block.
“I was able to go into some (NBA) games (last season) and coach would put me in and I learned to play big minutes, and do big things, for the Raptors,” Brissett said. “It’s something I feel I can do at the high level again and for the rest of my career. So, this has been a showcase for me to show I can do that.”
Josh Gray had 11 points for Fort Wayne and Lecque 10.
“Devin Robinson, his minutes have gone down significantly since we picked up Amida (on Thursday). And Devin has phenomenal game anyway. He doesn’t keep his head down. This was his first time out of the starting lineup. He responds by going 7 for 9 with 17 points and 10 rebounds,” Hankins said.