The Fort Report: Mad Ants Start Second Half Strong

The All-Star break couldn't slow down the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. The Pacers' G League affiliate opened up the second half of the season with three straight wins last week, including two on the road.

Their performance was all the more impressive considering that the Mad Ants lost two of their best players last week thanks to well-deserved promotions. The Pacers signed guard Trey McKinney Jones to a 10-day contract, while Walter Lemon Jr. (Fort Wayne's leading scorer) inked a similar deal with the New Orleans Pelicans.

Nonetheless, the Mad Ants had another strong week, improving to 24-15 on the year, and are 2.5 games up on the Grand Rapids Drive (Detroit's affiliate) for first place in the Central Division.

The week began last Wednesday in Wisconsin, where the Mad Ants rolled to a 128-110 win over the Herd (Milwaukee's affiliate). Fresh off winning the G League Dunk contest at All-Star Weekend, DeQuan Jones led Fort Wayne with 36 points, going 13-for-19 from the field and 10-for-12 from the free throw line.

Pacers two-way player Ben Moore added 24 points on 10-of-12 shooting. Jarrod Uthoff (21 points and 14 rebounds) and Stephan Hicks (21 points and 12 boards) each recorded double-doubles.

Moore was the hero two nights later, scoring the game-winning layup with 4.1 seconds left to lift the Mad Ants to a 112-110 road win over the Canton Charge (Cleveland's affiliate). Moore finished with 24 points on 11-of-15 shooting and five rebounds in the victory.

Jones once again led Fort Wayne in scoring, this time tallying 27 points and 10 rebounds. Uthoff added 21 points and eight boards.

The Mad Ants returned home on Sunday and handled their business against the Iowa Wolves (Minnesota's affiliate) in a 103-89 win. Jones was sensational, scoring a career-high 40 points to go along with seven rebounds and three assists. He finished the night 14-for-22 from the field and 7-for-12 from 3-point range.

Pacers rookie center Ike Anigbogu joined the Mad Ants on assignment for the game and put together arguably his best performance as a professional. Anigbogu scored 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting and pulled down seven rebounds in 31 minutes.

Hicks had 14 points and Moore added 13 in the win. Tra-Deon Hollins, meanwhile, accumulated an eye-popping stat line. Hollins went scoreless in 42 minutes, missing all six of his shot attempts, but still managed to make a big impact on the game, racking up five rebounds, 14 assists, and 10 steals.

The Mad Ants return to action on Wednesday morning for an 11:00 AM tip in Grand Rapids. The Mad Ants will carry a four-game win streak into the contest, but the Drive are even hotter, having won eight straight contests. It is the start of a four-game road trip for Fort Wayne.

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.