Sumner’s big night helps Ants top Kings
Edmond Sumner had yet to make his professional debut at this time last year, his recovery from the knee injury suffered at Xavier still going through its final days. Sumner’s grueling rookie season is a distant memory, though, as evidenced by his dominant performance Monday night in the Mad Ants’ 122-108 victory over the Stockton Kings.
Sumner, a second-year Indiana Pacers prospect, made 12 of 17 shots for a game-high 30 points.
“My body, it’s the most healthy I’ve ever been. It’s the best I’ve felt. My knees-wise, I have no issues,” Sumner said after playing 29 minutes, 32 seconds, and outscoring his season-average by nine points.
“I just want to be an all-around better player. I was struggling for a minute, so I had to kind of get back to where I was, attacking the rim. I needed to be confident and knock down 3s, as well.”
Sumner was all over the Coliseum court, stealing three balls at midcourt for wide-open dunks and making 4 of 5 shots from 3-point range as Fort Wayne (12-11) won for third time in its last four games and retook first place in the Central Division, leapfrogging Windy City (13-12).
″(Sumner) is being a big-time weapon for us on the offensive end,” Mad Ants coach Steve Gansey said. “Especially when he’s making 3s, guys have to respect him. Guys go under, he’s just so quick that he can go to the basket a lot. He’s just got to keep getting better and keep having that good mindset. He won’t be with us very long if he keeps going like this.”
Former Indiana University player Troy Williams led Stockton with 21 points.
Snider graduate Reggie Hearn, who spent time last season with the Detroit Pistons, scored four points on 1-of-5 shooting.
“I’m trying to improve defensively,” Hearn said. “I think NBA teams know I can shoot the ball pretty well, even though this season I haven’t been up to par. I think if I can be a 3-and-D guy in the NBA, that would be my calling card.”
Hearn was named USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year in November, after helping the U.S. to a 5-1 record in qualification games for the FIBA World Cup.
Another Stockton (12-9) player with many fans among the announced crowd of 1,646 was rookie Taren Sullivan, who hails from Lima, Ohio, and played last season for the University of Findlay. He made 3 of 5 shots for eight points. Fort Wayne’s Alize Johnson had 19 points and 14 rebounds for his 15th double-double in 18 G League games.
Teammate Ike Anigbogu, who spent last weekend with the Pacers to get treatment on a sore knee, had 13 points and a career-best 18 rebounds.
“One thing (Anigbogu) has been doing for us since the beginning of the season is being a presence inside, both offensively and defensively,” Gansey said. “He’s been getting a lot of offensive rebounds, too, and blocked shots on the defensive end. You’ve just got to be a force down there and keep wrestling with some of those other bigs.”
The Mad Ants play host to Erie, led by former Fort Wayne player Alex Poythress, at 7 p.m. Friday.