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Mad Ants fall to Bayhawks
Fort Wayne, Ind. – Fort Wayne (19-12) came up short in the final seconds against the Erie Bayhawks (11-23) in front of a sold-out crowd Sunday night. This marks the first sell-out game in Fort Wayne’s franchise history with an announced crowd of 5,444.
Trey McKinney-Jones’s 23-point performance was not enough to get the job done as the Mad Ants lost 102-100.
The entire game was competitive since the opening tip. Both teams battled back and forth during the first quarter, neither able to extend their lead. The Mad Ants offense was led early by McKinney-Jones and Indiana Pacers assignee Rakeem Christmas. The pair combined for 19 of Fort Wayne’s 29 points in the opening period.
Kalin Lucas lit a spark off the bench in the opening quarter for the Bayhawks. Lucas was open for several jump shots, ending with eight points in the first quarter. Gabe York got off to a hot start as well, bagging three buckets from behind the 3-point line. The Bayhawks ended the first, trailing 29-27.
Both teams struggled to maintain much of a lead in the second. Julyan Stone facilitated the Mad Ants’ offense as he had seven assists in the first half alone. Fort Wayne extended their range in the second, scoring four buckets from behind the arc.
Anthony Brown’s 10 points in the quarter and the sharpshooting of Lucas kept Erie in striking distance. The Mad Ants went into halftime leading 57-56. The first half consisted of 13 lead changes for both teams.
McKinney-Jones had 17 points in the first half. Christmas scored 11, and Travis Leslie added eight points off the bench. Erie had four players in double-digits scoring in the half. Lucas led in scoring with 14. Brown and Gabe York each had 12 points. Branden Dawson contributed 10 points to the cause.
The Mad Ants started the second half with a 6-0 run, giving them their largest lead of the game at seven. Four of the six points came from Alex Poythress. Two free throws and a 3-pointer by York brought the deficit back down to two.
Reggis Onwukamuche ended the third quarter with a put-back dunk, with the Mad Ants still leading 73-71. Erie forced the Mad Ants into committing five turnovers in the third quarter to cut into Fort Wayne’s lead.
The fourth quarter consisted of nine lead changes with both teams trying to gain an edge down the stretch. The Mad Ants held a five-point lead with five minutes left to play. A dunk by Stephen Zimmerman and a 3-pointer by Robert Vaden tied the game at 92.
Erie regained the lead with a minute and a half left and the Mad Ants never recovered. Fort Wayne was brought within one by a Poythress layup with 10 seconds left. York was fouled, but he missed both free throws to give Fort Wayne a chance to win. Poythress drove left, but his finger roll was no-good.
Poythress finished with a double-double of 19 points and 12 rebounds. Leslie was one rebound shy of a double-double of his own, scoring 13 points. York led Erie with 24 points, Lucas was not far behind with 23.
The Mad Ants will look to bounce back on Valentine’s Day when they play the Canton Charge. Tip-off will be 7:00 p.m. Tuesday night.