Game Recap - D-Fenders vs. Mad Ants - January 16, 2013

TURNING POINT

The D-Fenders led 96-89 with 4:29 left in the ballgame, but failed to score in the next three minutes as Fort Wayne rattled off 11 straight points to grab a 100-96 lead with 1:36 to play. During that span, L.A. had five possessions and missed three shots, while turning the ball over twice.

Courtney Fortson Scored 23 points for the D-Fenders
Courtney Fortson Scored 23 points for the D-Fenders

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Ron Howard. Despite coming into the game averaging nearly 20 points, the 6-foot-5 guard finished with just seven points on 3 for 11 from the floor and seven assists. But his lay-in over Gary Flowers and Zach Andrews with 1.5 seconds left proved to be the game winner, capping Fort Wayne’s 20-point comeback on the road.

UNSUNG HERO

Tony Mitchell. With the Mad Ants trailing by as many as 20 points early, Mitchell poured in 18 of his game-high 25 in the second quarter alone, converting on 7-of-8 from the floor, including all four 3-pointers. His efforts alone – he scored half of his Fort Wayne’s points in that second frame – helped cut the D-Fenders lead to just 57-53 entering halftime.

KEY STAT OF THE GAME

The Mad Ants grabbed 21 offensive rebounds toward 18 second-chance points, seven of those boards coming in the decisive fourth quarter when they outscored the D-Fenders 31-24. This allowed them to own a plus-13 on the glass (59-46). Three Fort Wayne players finished with double-digit rebounds – Tony Mitchell, Luke Harangody and Sadiel Rojas – and five players grabbed at least three on the offensive glass.

PLAY OF THE NIGHT

Recently acquired Zach Andrews, who played with the D-Fenders a year ago, finished with 12 points, six boards and two steals in 27 minutes off the bench. But as had become a recurring highlight at home games last season, Andrews picked up right where he left off, throwing down this dunk off a touch pass from Oriene Greene on the break.

WHERE THEY STAND

The D-Fenders (6-11) lost their third straight contest overall and third consecutive at home, too, while Fort Wayne (11-10) won their eighth straight. Up next: L.A. heads north to take on the Santa Cruz Warriors on Friday, Jan. 18 at 7:00 p.m. Santa Cruz won back-to-back games against L.A. in early December, winning 93-92 and 99-93. Travis Leslie, who comes in at No. 7 on the latest NBA D-League Prospect Watch Board, leads the Warriors averaging nearly 16 points and eight rebounds per game.

by Trevor Wong