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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, November 18, 2017 9:20 pm

Offensive show for Mad Ants

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

The Mad Ants may have gotten more of a challenge than they’d expected, but they still kept up their winning ways. A strong second half from Fort Wayne resulted in a 127-115 victory tonight over the winless Delaware 87ers at Memorial Coliseum.

Making his debut for the Mad Ants (4-1) was Ike Anigbogu, who was sent down by the NBA’s Indiana Pacers on Wednesday. The center, a second-round pick in this year’s NBA Draft, had 13 points and seven rebounds.

But, again, it was Walt Lemon Jr. who stole the show for the Mad Ants. Lemon totaled 34 points, tying his season best, after he came into the night averaging 26 points, 5.5 assists and 3.3 rebounds.

Stephan Hicks had 20 points and Jarrod Uthoff and C.J. Fair added 19 apiece for the Mad Ants in front of a crowd announced at 3,113 at the Coliseum, where the Mad Ants are 3-0 this season. Delaware is 0-6, including a 0-4 record on the road.

It was the Fort Wayne’s highest point production of the season, eclipsing the 114-111 victory over the Windy City Bulls on Nov. 11.

It was also a homecoming game for Delaware’s James Blackmon Jr., the former Bishop Luers and Indiana University player who wasn’t selected in the NBA draft this year after leaving school following a junior season in which he was Third Team All-Big Ten and has the second highest single-season point total in IU history.

When Blackmon had last played at the Coliseum, it was in the Hoosiers’ shocking 71-68 loss to IPFW almost a year ago – Nov. 22, when IU was ranked third in the nation.

Blackmon, who had 20 points, had averaged 7.8 points and 2.7 rebounds in his first five games with the 87ers.

The teams played about equal in the first quarter, when they both scored 29 points with Fort Wayne making 61.1 percent of its shots and Delaware converting 59.1 percent of its attempts.

But the 87ers opened scored the first 12 points of the second quarter, the run culminating with a Blackmon 3-pointer, his first points of the game on his third shot. The lead, which grew to 14 points, was down to 62-58 at halftime after Fort Wayne’s C.J. Fair hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Blackmon’s jump shot with 8:57 left in the third quarter gave Delaware 72-63 lead, but the Fort Wayne long-range shooting kicked in and it went on a 21-7 run, highlighted by back-to-back 3-pointers by Jarrod Uthoff and Walt Lemon Jr., to take an 84-79 lead.

The Mad Ants play host to the Canton Charge at 7 p.m. Monday.