Zeisloft’s clutch 3 wins it for Mad Ants
The shot was designed to be from a 2-pointer. But Nick Zeisloft made it a 3.
His shot with 5.1 seconds left, after an in-bounds pass from Julyan Stone, was the difference in a 111-110 victory tonight for the Mad Ants over the Greensboro Swarm.
“I’ve always been a shooter. You’ve just got to be ready to shoot the ball at any time and just let it fly, really,” said Zeisloft, the rookie from Indiana University, who had nine points on 3-of-7 shooting, all from behind the arc.
(Video of the shot is above.)
Alex Poythress had 32 points on 11-of-15 shooting for the Mad Ants (10-3). Trey McKinney Jones added 18 points. Rakeem Christmas, the Mad Ants’ only NBA-contracted player, had 13 points and 10 rebounds on assignment from the Indiana Pacers.
After the game, the teams almost came to blows because Stone rolled the ball down the court and a Swarm assistant coach threw it back at him.
The Mad Ants had trailed by 18 points in a dismal first half when Greensboro’s Christian Wood, a prospect of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, had 28 points on 11-of-13 shooting. Not only did Fort Wayne open the second half with a 22-9 run to get back into it, it held Wood scoreless on six shots in the second half.
The Mad Ants got a 93-92 lead with 9:53 left in the fourth quarter after, in succession, they got a Poythress dunk, a Travis Leslie 3-pointer, a Leslie reverse and a Poythress jumper from 25 feet.
The Swarm (5-11) would go back up 101-98 after Mike Tobey had two free throws and a dunk, and its lead grew to five before the Mad Ants rallied again in front of 1,367 fans.
Zeisloft’s winning shot came after a key Stephan Hicks rebound, after which he called a timeout but three seconds ran off the clock before the referees saw it. After the timeout with seven seconds left in the game, coach Steve Gansey used an advancement, a D-League rule that allowed them to set up in the offensive zone.
“It was kind of a broken play. We didn’t have it. Nick flashed. Julyan, who had the ball, came right over and (Nick) faked it, (Greensboro’s Damien Wilkins) went by and there was one dribble and that’s what Nick does. He makes big shots and he’s ready,” Gansey said. “And that’s extremely difficult to do, for any player, is sit on the bench and get your name called and go in there and make a game-winning 3. Kudos to him.”
Aaron Harrison, another Charlotte player, had 24 points for Greensboro.
The Mad Ants play Friday at Newark, Delaware, against the Delaware 87ers and then play Monday afternoon at Greensboro, North Carolina.
The Mad Ants had not faced the Swarm, which is in its first season, since the regular-season opener Nov. 12, won 120-99 by Fort Wayne. In that game, rookie Ben Bentil had 27 points and 10 rebounds for the Mad Ants but then left to play in China.
Another rookie, Poythress, had since picked up the scoring slack and came into today leading the Mad Ants in points (19.2), rebounds (7.6) and blocks (1.8) per game.