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The Journal Gazette

  • Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette The Mad Ants' C.J. Fair converts a layup by going hard to the basket at Memorial Coliseum against the Reno Bighorns' Will Davis on Monday night. 

  • Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Mad Ants forward Jarrod Uthoff, right, guards the Reno Bighorns' Marcus Williams on Monday night at Memorial Coliseum.

  • Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette DeQuan Jones of the Mad Ants prepares to drive around the Reno Bighorns' Brandon Austin at Memorial Coliseum on Monday night. 

Monday, December 04, 2017 10:10 pm

Lemon returns to form, Mad Ants win

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

Walt Lemon Jr. may have come into the night with the fourth best scoring average in the G League – 24.8 points per game – but he was coming off his least productive night with nine points on 3 of 12 shooting.

He certainly returned to form against the Reno Bighorns at Memorial Coliseum.

Lemon totaled 28 points on 12-of-20 shooting, along with 10 rebounds and eight assists, as the Mad Ants won 106-97 and improved their home record to 7-1, where attendance was announced as 2,143 on First Responders Night.

The Mad Ants honored law enforcement heroes and there was to be a postgame scrimmage between police and firefighters. Special jerseys were auctioned off to benefit Fort Wayne victims assistance.

Jarrod Uthoff had 21 points and 14 rebounds.

Lemon had his fourth highest point total of the season. His block of a Matt Jones shot with 3 minutes left, and the Mad Ants (9-2) leading 100-85, cemented the victory for the Mad Ants, who have won nine of their last 10 games.

Reno (4-6) played without long-shooting ace Reggie Hearn, a Snider graduate, who had an ankle injury. Hearn, who has averaged 17.7 points and 6 rebounds in three games for the Bighorns this season, recently returned from two World Cup qualification games for the U.S. National Team, after he helped the U.S. to the gold medal at the FIBA AmeriCup in August.

Justin Jackson had 24 points for Reno.

The Mad Ants were coming off a 107-94 loss Saturday at the Coliseum to the Westchester Knicks that snapped their winning streak at eight games, which had tied a franchise regular-season record. Fort Wayne coach Steve Gansey derided his team’s lack of energy and selflessness in that game, which came after the Indiana Pacers had sent down Alex Poythress and Ike Anigbogu.

Tonight, Poythress had nine points and 11 rebounds. Anigbogu had two point and two rebounds.

Ben Moore had 15 points.

The game started in better fashion with Lemon’s back-to-back dunk and layup giving them an 8-2 lead. Uthoff did the heavy lifting early with 10 points and six rebounds en route to a 24-20 lead after the first quarter.

The Bighorns took a 38-35 lead on Justin Jackson’s 3-pointer with 4:38 left in the second quarter, though Fort Wayne quickly responded and went up 45-40 when a Uthoff fall-away was followed by a Poythress dunk and a Lemon 3 from the corner.

DeQuan Jones’ sprint through the lane for a highlight-reel dunk put the Mad Ants up 72-55 with 6:20 left in the third quarter and Fair drained a pair of free throws for an 84-67 lead at the end of the quarter.

jcohn@jg.net