Mad Ants Defeat Warriors in Game 1 of 2014 NBA D-League Finals

Best-of-Three Series to Resume Saturday, April 26 in Fort Wayne

SANTA CRUZ, April 24, 2014 -- 2014 NBA D-League Co-MVP Ron Howard and the top-seeded Fort Wayne Mad Ants defeated the Santa Cruz Warriors, 102-92, in the first game of the 2014 NBA D-League Finals in California on Thursday night. Tony Mitchell led the Mad Ants with 25 points, including 15 in the fourth quarter, while Howard chipped in with 23 in the win.

The Mad Ants led by as many as 13 points in the first quarter on the back of Howard’s 11-point frame. Santa Cruz battled back, though, trailing by only one point, 40-41, with 5:49 to play in the half. The teams knotted in five ties and the lead changed hands seven times in the second period, with the Mad Ants settling for an eight-point lead, 59-51, heading into the halftime break. Mychel Thompson led the Warriors’ comeback effort, scoring seven of his nine first half points in the second quarter. Fort Wayne’s Howard led all first half scorers with 15 points, while Cameron Jones chipped in with 13 for the hometown Warriors.

Santa Cruz’s Seth Curry scored 11 points in the third quarter, his first points of the game, to keep the Warriors close, but it was Dan Nwaelele who connected on a three pointer from the corner to bring their team within one point, 73-74, heading into the game’s final stanza. The Warriors outscored Fort Wayne 22-15 in the third, and kept the momentum into the fourth quarter, tying the game at 82 with 7:31 to play.

In a battle of a fourth quarter, the Mad Ants extended their lead to as many as nine points with 5:22 to play before Santa Cruz fought back to come within in, 90-91, on a Joe Alexander free throw with 1:53 left in the game. It was all Fort Wayne in the game’s last minute, though, as Tony Mitchell connected on a three-pointer, his third of the quarter, with 54.2 to play to solidify the win. The Mad Ants extended their lead to 10 points before time expired.

Jones led the Warriors with 24 points and Curry added 18 in the loss.

The best-of-three series continues on Saturday, April 26, when the teams meet at 8:30 p.m. ET in Fort Wayne. The game will be broadcast on a tape delay by CBS Sports Network, airing at 10:30 p.m. ET.