FORT WAYNE – No excuses.
Not much defense, either, when such a thing was necessary.
But no excuses were uttered in the Mad Ants’ 108-100 loss to Dakota on Tuesday, even though excuses were available for the taking.
With leading scorer Ron Howard sidelined for an estimated two weeks due to a broken thumb, the Ants began Tuesday’s game a man down.
But midway through the second quarter, another man would be down.
Reserve forward Ramon Harris, whose 20 points and late-game steal helped lead the Ants to an overtime win over Dakota on Sunday, drove aggressively to the basket but was fouled by three Dakota players. The one the officials handed the offense to was 6-foot-7, 200-pound Mike Anderson.
Harris hit the floor hard directly beneath the basket. And after several minutes, he got on his hands and knees and was eventually helped off the floor. Wearing street clothes, he returned to the Ants’ bench in the second half.
I got hit in the back of the head, Harris said. I’ve been checked out by the doctor. He said I had a concussion.
Harris said he hoped he could remain with the team as they begin a five-game road trip Friday at Sioux Falls, S.D.
I’m going to see the doctor (today), Harris said. I’m pretty sure I’ll make the trip. They just want me to rest for the next 24 hours.
With only three reserves, the Ants (8-13) let a seven-point lead midway through the third quarter slip away to the Wizards (9-10), who went from a 62-55 deficit to a 79-72 lead going into the final quarter.
In the final 3:52 of the third quarter, Dakota’s lanky 6-10 center Tommy Smith outscored the Ants 12-7. He entered the game with a 9.6 scoring average and a season-high of 14 points.
We made him look like a beast (Tuesday), Ants coach Steve Gansey said. That’s unacceptable on our part.
But Gansey refused to put the blame on the loss of two players, nor did Fort Wayne’s 6-11 center Jarrid Famous, who scored 15 points and had 20 rebounds.
People were a little tired, but that’s still no excuse, said Famous.
Three of the Ants’ starters played 41 minutes or more.
Rookie guard Cam Jones led the team in scoring with 24 points, and Darnell Lazare added 21. Point guard Walker Russell Jr. had 18 points and 16 assists.