Short-handed Ants show grit in win
As far as gritty victories go, this was a big one for the Mad Ants.
Without arguably the G League’s leading MVP candidate, Walt Lemon Jr., and their captain, Trey McKinney Jones, the Central Division-leading Mad Ants still defeated the Wisconsin Herd 128-110 tonight.
DeQuan Jones, who won the G League’s Slam Dunk Contest on Sunday, led Fort Wayne (22-15) with 36 points on 13-of-18 shooting. Rookie Ben Moore had 22 points.
The game came hours after the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans and Indiana Pacers made official the signings of Lemon and McKinney Jones, respectively, to the 10-day contracts that had been reported Tuesday would be coming by The Journal Gazette.
Lemon had led the Mad Ants in scoring with 22.7 points, along with 5.9 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game, while McKinney Jones averaged 11.4 points and had helped Fort Wayne to the 2014 G League championship and the 2015 finals.
The Mad Ants were also without Edmond Sumner, an Indiana Pacers rookie, because of a death in the family.
It was the Mad Ants’ first game since Feb. 10, a 122-103 victory over the Maine Red Claws the preceded the All-Star break.
This was the Mad Ants’ first ever game at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in the Herd’s new home, Menominee Nation Arena. In the only previous game between the teams in Wisconsin, Nov. 28, the Mad Ants won 127-122 at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee.
Jarrod Uthoff and Stephan Hicks had 19 points apiece for the Mad Ants, who put rookie Tra-Deon Hollins in the starting lineup and he produced six points, eight assists and eight rebounds. Jamil Wilson had 13 points. Duje Dukan was scoreless over six minutes in his debut.
Wisconsin (17-21), which has lost five in a row, was led by Brandon Jennings’ 28 points. Former Indiana University and Bishop Luers star James Blackmon Jr. had seven points.
The Mad Ants conclude a string of four straight road games at 7 p.m. Friday at against the Canton Charge in Canton, Ohio.