Saturday, February 10, 2018 10:10 pm
Lemon drops 40 in Ants' turnaround victory
JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette
Walt Lemon Jr. had 40 points, becoming the first Mad Ants player to hit that mark since Tony Mitchell back in 2013.
Almost as impressive was the turnaround made by the Central Division-leading Mad Ants in their 122-103 victory over the Maine Red Claws on Saturday night in front of 2,417 fans at the Portland Expo Building in Portland, Maine.
The Mad Ants (21-15) got off to a dreadful start, falling behind 14-1 early, and they trailed by as many as 19 points when a Kadeem Allen layup gave the Red Claws a 43-24 lead with 7:48 remaining in the second quarter.
But Fort Wayne closed the first half with a 20-6 run and trailed only 56-54 at the break. The Ants began taking control when Jarrod Uthoff drained a 3-pointer for an 86-83 lead with 53 seconds left in the third. And they went on a 34-18 run to close the game.
Lemon made 16 of 31 shots. Teammate DeQuan Jones had 27 points on 12-of-21 shooting, along with a team-high eight rebounds. Uthoff had 18 points.
Defensively, the Mad Ants forced 12 steals. Tra-Deon Hollins had four points, 12 assists and four steals. Edmond Sumner, a fellow rookie, had four points and four steals.
Maine (16-20) was paced by Guerschon Yabusele’s 21 points and 13 rebounds, while Allen had 23 points.
Fort Wayne has won six of its last nine games and is 1-1 so far on its four-game road trip that continues with a game 8 p.m. Wednesday against the Wisconsin Herd, which has Fort Wayne native James Blackmon Jr.
The Mad Ants have a 2½-game lead over Grand Rapids and 4-game lead on Wisconsin in the divisional race.