The Fort Report: Mad Ants Knock Off East Leaders
Fort Wayne Beats Raptors 905, Also Has First Sellout in Franchise History
The Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the Pacers' D-League affiliate, went 1-2 last week, but their lone win was a big one. The Mad Ants knocked off Raptors 905, the team with the best record in the Eastern Conference, last Tuesday at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.
D-League All-Star Alex Poythress led the Mad Ants with 20 points, six rebounds, and three blocks in the win. Travis Leslie added 18 points and eight rebounds, while Julyan Stone recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 assists.
Pacers rookie Georges Niang, on assignment with the Mad Ants for the game, scored 11 points in 26 minutes. Niang went 5-for-18 from the field while also tallying four rebounds, two assists, and a steal.
The Mad Ants next played on Saturday night, where they fell on the road to the Delaware 87ers, Philadelphia's affiliate, 100-92. Stephan Hicks led Fort Wayne with 22 points, going 9-for-15 from the field and 4-for-7 from 3-point range.
Poythress added 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting, while Jarrod Uthoff — acquired on Jan. 27 in a trade with Raptors 905 — recorded a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds. Trey McKinney-Jones chipped in 16 points and six boards, while Ben Bentil had 14 and seven.
The Mad Ants returned home on Sunday, where they played before the first sellout crowd in franchise history. The capacity crowd witnessed a thriller.
Fort Wayne took a 96-94 lead on a jumper by McKinney-Jones with 2:26 remaining, but the Erie Bayhawks — Orlando's affiliate — moved back in front a minute later and led by three points with seconds to play.
Poythress scored on a layup with 11.5 seconds left and then fouled Erie guard Gabe York. York missed both free throws, giving the Mad Ants a chance at the win. Out of a timeout, Poythress drove and got a clean look at the rim, but couldn't get the layup to fall. Anthony Brown hit one of two foul shots with less than a second remaining to clinch a 102-100 win for the Bayhawks.
McKinney-Jones led the Mad Ants with 23 points and Poythress (19 points and 12 rebounds) recorded a double-double in the loss.
Pacers second-year forward Rakeem Christmas joined the Mad Ants on assignment for the contest and finished with 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting and eight rebounds in 26 minutes.
The Mad Ants are now 19-12 on the season and remain in second place in the Central Division, four games back of Raptors 905.
As of Tuesday morning, Poythress is tied for 13th in the D-League in scoring (18.9 points per game), tied for 17th in rebounding (7.5 boards per contest), and tied for eighth in blocks (1.6 per game). Stone is second in the D-League in assists at 1.3 per game.
The Mad Ants have one game remaining before the All-Star break. They will host the Canton Charge tonight at 7:00 PM ET.
Poythress will take part in the D-League All-Star Game and Slam Dunk Contest this weekend in New Orleans. The game will take place on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 2:30 PM ET at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and will be televised on TNT. The dunk contest will take place during halftime. Pacers 2017 All-Star Central »
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.