Friday, December 07, 2018 9:20 pm
Mad Ants lose to Nets
JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette
The Mad Ants hung with one of the G League’s better teams, but that will be of little consolation as they lost 117-111 to the Long Island Nets in front of 1,781 fans at Memorial Coliseum on Star Wars Night.
Despite Stephan Hicks’ 29 points and Davon Reed’s 26, the Mad Ants fell to 5-6.
Playing without Alize Johnson and Edmond Sumner, who are both with the Indiana Pacers, the Mad Ants saw Dzanan Musa get 25 points and 13 rebounds for the Nets (9-4).
The Mad Ants have lost back-to-back games and five of their last seven.
They play host to the Grand Rapids Drive at 7 p.m. Monday.
Before the game, the Mad Ants traded the rights of former star guard Walt Lemon Jr. to the Windy City Bulls for a first-round pick in next year’s G League draft and the rights to Alex Hamilton. That pick could be especially valuable since the Bulls are off to a 5-10 start and next season will be the first in which there are select contracts for players straight out of high school.
Especially in light of the recent slump, the Mad Ants did have great interest in bringing back Lemon after he was released Nov. 30 from his two-way contract with the Boston Celtics, but they didn’t feel they would have the available playing time when Sumner returns from the Pacers.
“We really value Walt and would have loved to have him back,” Mad Ants general manager Brian Levy said. “But we want to be fair to everybody and think this is the best situation for all. Walt is from Chicago and will get to play a lot there.”
Hamilton, a former Louisiana Tech player, is currently in Lithuania averaging 13.5 points, 4 rebounds and 3.6 assists.
“(Coach Steve Gansey) and I would have loved to have brought Walt back but didn’t see a way to do it without compromising his goals and we want to do right by him and by Edmond,” Levy said.
Tra-Deon Hollins returned to the Mad Ants’ lineup, and started, after he’d missed two games with a knee injury.
The Nets outscored the Mad Ants 31-24 in the first quarter – it was highlighted by a sequence in which the Nets’ Jordan McLaughlin got to his own missed 3-pointer and put it in for an easy layup – and Long Island had superior shooting in the quarter, 58.8 to 34.6 percent.
A Demetrius Denzel-Dyson shot from just inside the 3-point line brought the Mad Ants to within one at 33-32, but it was short-lived. A Theo Pinson long-range shot gave Long Island a 48-36 lead with 6:41 left in the second quarter.
The Mad Ants tied it at 64 when Hicks converted a technical foul – Long Island’s Alan Williams had argued a review of foul that was deemed not to be flagrant – with 7:41 remaining in the third quarter.
Fort Wayne’s Omari Johnson converted a 3-pointer with 9:45 remaining in the game to tie it at 89.