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D-League preview: Mad Ants at Canton

Records: Mad Ants (14-8), Canton (14-8)

When: 7 p.m. today

Where: Canton Memorial Civic Center, Ohio

Mad Ants leaders: Ron Howard (23.3 ppg, 4.0 apg), Trey McKinney-Jones (17.3 ppg), Sadiel Rojas (12.8 ppg, 8.6 rpg)

Canton leaders: Kevin Jones (16.4 ppg, 7.4 rpg), Arinze Onuaku (15.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg), Gilbert Brown (14.4 ppg)

Key matchup: The Mad Ants have won eight of nine games, and they’ve done it as health has deteriorated. Howard missed the last game, a 111-109 victory over Iowa on Sunday, with an Achilles injury. Rojas has picked up the slack lately; in his last two games, he has averaged 27.5 points and 14 rebounds. He may face a stiff test today from his former teammate, Olek Czyz, who was traded to Canton on Jan. 1. He’s coming off his best game with Canton, a 17-point, seven-rebound effort Sunday in a 118-105 victory over Springfield.

The skinny: Fort Wayne is 2-0 this season against Canton, and the teams are tied atop the East Division. Even though Fort Wayne has been hot, it is still finding itself because of myriad changes to the lineup due to NBA call-ups. Tony Mitchell, last season’s D-League Rookie of the Year, has started to reassert himself after returning from China and has gone over 20 points in each of his last three games. The Charge is tough to beat at home, where it is 8-3. Fort Wayne is 7-2 on the road, though.

jcohn@jg.net

– Justin Cohn, The Journal Gazette

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