FORT WAYNE – With apologies to My Fair Lady, the reign by Maine stays mainly in Fort Wayne.
For the fifth consecutive time this season, and the fourth straight at Memorial Coliseum, the Maine Red Claws defeated the Mad Ants. Thursday it was 114-104.
The Coliseum this season has become the friendly confines for Maine, which beat the Ants three times over an eight-day span in February that ignited a 10-game Mad Ants losing streak. In truth, Maine (16-23) has won as many games on the Coliseum floor since nearly a week before Christmas as the Ants (11-28), who have home wins in the calendar year over Canton (twice) and Dakota (twice).
That’s sad. That’s sad, Ants guard Ron Howard said. That’s bad.
Fitting phrases as far as Ants coach Steve Gansey is concerned, who watched the Ants trail from the beginning, including 40-23 after the first quarter.
The first quarter killed us, said Gansey, whose team has lost 16 of its last 19 games. The last three games we’ve given up 40 points in the first quarter. That’s not going to do it.
The Ants trailed 23-19 then Maine scored 13 unanswered points. Seven of the points came within a one-minute span when Maine’s 6-foot-6 swingman Morris Almond, who had 37 points, hit two free throws, a fastbreak layup and a conventional three-point play to send the Red Claws in front 36-19.
The Ants spent the rest of the night in pursuit.
In the beginning, we have to be the aggressor, Gansey said. In the beginning, we have to be the ones that set the tempo for the whole game.
Charles Garcia led the Ants with 19 points and 13 rebounds, and Cameron Jones had 18.
Note: The Ants acquired Anthony Goods, who scored 17 points Thursday. Goods, a 6-foot-3 guard who played one game with the Ants last season before being released, returned to the team from Italy. Guard Devan Downey was waived.