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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, January 26, 2019 10:10 pm

Johnson, Gray lead Mad Ants past Charge

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

Omari Johnson scored 24 points, tying his season high, and rookie Rob Gray had 24, too, as they led the the Mad Ants to a 116-102 victory over the host Canton Charge tonight to snap a three-game losing streak.

Fort Wayne converted 15 of 36 shots from 3-point range. Johnson was 5 of 12.

Rookie Demetrius Denzel-Dyson had 15 points, including 5-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc.

The Mad Ants’ roster had been decimated by call-ups, the latest being the loss of Edmond Sumner to the Indiana Pacers in the wake of Victor Oladipo’s season-ending injury. Also gone from Fort Wayne were Stephan Hicks, Alize Johnson and Davon Reed.

They remained, however, with Ike Anigbogu. Also, Ike Nwamu and Jordan Barnett, who were acquired from the Wisconsin Herd on Tuesday for Elijah Stewart and the rights to Alex Hamilton, made their debuts in the Fort Wayne lineup in front of 3,262 fans at the Canton Memorial Civic Center. Nwamu had 11 points, Barnett had two.

Johnson made 3 of 4 shots for 10 points as the Mad Ants (15-14) jumped out to a 19-9 lead. A pair of Travin Thibodeaux free throws, after he’d been fouled on a dunk attempt, gave Fort Wayne a 31-13 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Gray’s drive from the left sideline to the hoop put Fort Wayne up 39-17. And Gray was part of a tic-tac-toe passing play that included Tra-Deon Hollins and ended with Denzel-Dyson making a 3-pointer from the corner for a 54-32 lead.

En route to a 60-45 halftime lead, Fort Wayne made 10 of 21 shots from 3-point range and Canton was 1 for 8, with the Charge finishing the game 6 of 25.

The Mad Ants’ lead, once 23 points, had been cut to 10 before a Johnson 3-pointer made it 94-81 with 8:00 left in the fourth quarter.

Canton (12-18) was paced by JaCorey Williams’ 22 points.

jcohn@jg.net