The Fort Report: Mad Ants Start West Coast Trip 2-2
Marquis Teague Joins Team, Poythress and Loyd Shine
The Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the Pacers' D-League affiliate, have fared well so far on their only West Coast road trip of the season, splitting four games over the past week.
Fort Wayne is now 24-18 on the season and in third place in the Central Division. With eight games left in the regular season, the Mad Ants have a two-game lead over the Delaware 87ers for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Mad Ants opened their trip with a 116-105 win last Wednesday in Salt Lake City over the Stars, Utah's affiliate. All-Star forward Alex Poythress led the way with a game-high 27 points on 11-of-13 shooting.
Trey McKinney-Jones added 20 points, while UIndy alum Jordan Loyd tallied 15 points, five rebounds, and nine assists. Former Pacers forward Tyler Hansbrough, in his second week with the team, had nine points and 11 rebounds in 39 minutes.
On Friday, the Mad Ants fell to the Santa Cruz Warriors, 144-123. Fort Wayne had seven players score in double figures in the loss, but Santa Cruz (Golden State's affiliate) had five different players tally at least 20 points in the offensive showcase.
That game marked the Mad Ants debut of Marquis Teague, the former Pike High School star and younger brother of Pacers point guard Jeff Teague, who was acquired last week in a trade with OKC Blue. Teague played well in his debut, racking up 18 points, four rebounds, and eight assists off the bench.
Poythress once again led the team in scoring with 24 points and seven rebounds. Loyd stuffed the stat sheet with 16 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists. Hansbrough added 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting and nine boards.
The Mad Ants bounced back quickly, routing the Los Angeles D-Fenders — the owners of the best record in the Western Conference — on Saturday night. Loyd was the star of the 131-109 win over the Lakers' affiliate. The rookie guard had a career best 34 points, going 12-for-20 from the field and 7-for-10 from 3-point range, while also dishing out seven assists.
Six other players scored in double figures for Fort Wayne, including 18 points apiece from Trey McKinney-Jones and Travis Leslie. Hansbrough recorded a double-double with 12 points and 17 rebounds (six of them offensive), while had 13 points and four assists off the bench.
The Mad Ants played again on Monday night, this time falling to the Reno Bighorns, 116-102. David Stockton, the son of Hall of Famer John Stockton, had a game-high 30 points and five assists to lead the Kings' affiliate to victory.
Poythress led Fort Wayne with 23 points and eight rebounds. Teague added 21 points off the bench on 8-of-14 shooting.
Entering the final weeks of the regular season, Poythress is now 13th in the D-League in scoring at 19.3 points per game and tied for 10th in blocks at 1.5 per contest. Loyd has surged into the top 20 in assists since taking over the starting point guard role over the past couple weeks. The rookie is averaging 4.2 assists per game, good enough for 18th in the D-League.
The Mad Ants close out their road trip on Wednesday, March 15 against the Northern Arizona Suns at 9:30 PM ET. They return home this weekend to host Delaware on Saturday at 7:00 PM and then welcome the Austin Toros to Allen County War Memorial Coliseum on Sunday at 5:00 PM.
Stay tuned to Pacers.com for continued updates on the Mad Ants, and make sure to check out Pacers.com/MadAntsTV » to watch Mad Ants games free online.