With back-to-back victories over the Iowa Energy – including a 111-109 victory at Memorial Coliseum Sunday night – the Mad Ants have taken over first place in the D-League's East Division.
"Nothing changes. We've just got to stay the course and stick with our game plan," said guard Kyle Randall, who played a career-high 39 minutes 45 seconds because Mad Ants star Ron Howard was out with an Achilles injury.
"We want to come out and be the hardest working team, every time out on the floor, execute and do the little things to win the game, no matter whether we're in first or last place."
It was the first time this season the Mad Ants were without Howard, who leads them in scoring with 23.3 points per game.
In the 21 games before Sunday, Howard was the Mad Ants' leading scorer in all but four games, including Saturday's 142-131 victory at Iowa, when Sadiel Rojas had a season-best 36 points.
On Sunday, the Mad Ants (14-8) were led by Trey McKinney-Jones' 24 points and Tony Mitchell's 23. Rojas added 19 points and 18 rebounds.
Randall had 13 points and two assists, with only three turnovers.
The Mad Ants trailed 95-85 with 7:22 remaining in the game and then got, consecutively, a McKinney-Jones jump shot, a Rojas drive for a basket, a reverse by Mitchell and a Mitchell baseline jumper to trim the deficit to two points.
Fort Wayne went up for good, at 101-100 with 2:52 left, when Mitchell got the rebound of a missed McKinney-Jones shot and monstrously dunked it in.
"We're brothers in here and we all like each other, so after (Saturday) night, we decided to all play together and play hard and get some rebounds," Rojas said. "We rebounded and defended, which we hadn't really done (as well) the previous two games."
Iowa (14-8) was paced by Othyus Jeffers' 22 points.
Notes: Jamaal Franklin returned to the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies. In three games with Fort Wayne, he averaged 10.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists. The Mad Ants are now without an NBA-contracted player. … One of the shot clocks broke when an Iowa shot from beyond center court hit it at the end of the first half. Because there were no backup clocks at the Coliseum, the Mad Ants public address announcer had to count down from 10 seconds each possession.