Sunday, February 25, 2018 7:20 pm
Jones totals 40 points, Ants win again
JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette
DeQuan Jones starring for the Mad Ants isn’t anything new; he’s been pretty much ruling the G League for four weeks.
Ike Anigbogu, though, had been a mixed bag before today.
The interesting thing is Anigbogu, a rookie, has an NBA contract with the Indiana Pacers and Jones hasn’t played in the NBA since 2013.
While Jones had 40 points – the second Mad Ants player to do so this season – Anigbogu had a career-best 19 points and the Central Division-leading Mad Ants defeated the Iowa Wolves 103-89 today in front of a sellout crowd of 4,898 at Memorial Coliseum.
Jones and Anigbogu had seven rebounds apiece.
The Mad Ants (24-15) have won four straight games and eight of their last 10. Iowa (18-20) has lost four in a row.
It was the best of Anigbogu’s 15 games with the Mad Ants. His previous best for points had been 13 in his Nov. 18 Mad Ants debut.
Jones, who won the G League’s Slam Dunk Contest in Los Angeles on Feb. 18, has been Mr. Do Everything for the Mad Ants lately; he’d led them in scoring seven of the last 11 games.
In the first quarter, he was magnificent with 15 points and four rebounds, even if the Mad Ants came out still trailing 31-30.
In the quarter were two impressive sequences: During the first, Jones drained a 3-pointer, helped get a stop at the other end, then made a thunderous dunk for an 11-8 lead; in the other sequence, Jones blocked an Elijah Millsap shot and sprinted down the court in time to get to leap for an arcing rebound of a missed Jarrod Uthoff 3-pointer and slam it down to tie it at 26.
Last week, Fort Wayne lost its leading scorer, Walt Lemon Jr. (who also had scored 40), to a 10-day contract with the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans and their captain, Trey McKinney Jones, to a 10-day contract with the Indiana Pacers, who own and operate the Mad Ants.
Not only did those signings mean that rookie Tra-Deon Hollins had to ascend to the starting to the lineup, and newly acquired Duje Dukan has been a bit more needed than expected, but the Mad Ants also signed Michael Orris on Saturday while getting Anigbogu back from the Pacers.
Hollins, who had averaged 9.7 assists over the previous three games, stole the ball at mid-court and flicked a pass to Jones for a dunk and a 64-47 lead in the early moments of the third quarter. Hollins finished with 14 assists.
Jones hit a 3-pointer while falling into the Iowa bench with 8:05 left in the quarter, also drawing a foul, and teammate Stephan Hicks hit a 3 from almost the same spot on the ensuing possession and the Mad Ants’ lead was 75-58.
The Mad Ants’ lead after three quarters was 88-71 thanks to Uthoff’s 3-pointer just before the buzzer. And they went up 94-78 in the fourth quarter after Jones benefited from an Anigbogu offensive rebound to get a dunk.