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The Journal Gazette

  • Katie Fyfe | The Journal Gazette Mad Ants' Stephan Hicks shoots the ball while Raptors' Malcolm Miller defends him during the first quarter at the Coliseum on Friday.

  • Katie Fyfe | The Journal Gazette Mad Ants' Stephan Hicks dribbles the ball down the court against the Raptors during the first quarter of the game at the coliseum on Friday.

  • Mad Ants' Jordan Barnett shoots the ball against the Raptors 905 during the first quarter at the Coliseum on Friday.

  • Katie Fyfe | The Journal Gazette Mad Ants' Omari Johnson shoots the ball during the first quarter against the Raptors 905 at the Coliseum on Friday.

  • Katie Fyfe | The Journal Gazette Mad Ants' Alize Johnson shoots the ball while Raptors' Derek Cooke Jr. defends him during the first quarter at the Coliseum on Friday.

  • Mad Ants' Alize Johnson gets ready to shoot the ball while Raptors' MiKyle McIntosh defends him during the first quarter at the Coliseum on Friday.

  • Katie Fyfe | The Journal Gazette Mad Ants' Alize Johnson shoots the ball during the first quarter against Raptors 905 at the Coliseum on Friday.

  • Katie Fyfe | The Journal Gazette Mad Ants' Alize Johnson dribbles the ball down the court during the first quarter against Raptors 905 at the Coliseum on Friday.

Friday, February 01, 2019 9:20 pm

Alize Johnson shines again in Ants' victory

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

Alize Johnson hadn’t played for the Mad Ants since Jan. 7, missing six games as he was back with the NBA’s Indiana Pacers.

The rookie forward picked right back up where he left off, totaling 31 points and 14 rebounds in a 117-112 victory tonight over Raptors 905.

In 19 games with the Mad Ants, he’s had double-doubles in 16 of them.

That’s insane – insanely good.

A crowd of 2,267 attended the game at Memorial Coliseum, and they got to see Omari Johnson score 24 points.

Stephan Hicks, in his first game back from the Pacers, had 21 points and nine rebounds. Rob Gray had 21 points.

The Mad Ants wore special Hoops & Heels jerseys that were auctioned off to benefit the Better Business Bureau. Before the game there was a networking and dinner event geared toward women that featured Pokey Chatman, coach and general manager of the WNBA’s Indiana Fever. It was the third straight year the Mad Ants have held a Hoops & Heels Night.

The Raptors opened the game with a 13-2 run that culminated with a Josh Adams step-back jump shot with 7:53 remaining in the first quarter.

The Mad Ants fought their way back and took a 30-28 lead with 13 seconds left in the quarter, on back-to-back dunks by Jordan Barnett, who was playing just his second game with Fort Wayne since being acquired in a trade with the Wisconsin Herd along with Ike Nwamu for Elijah Stewart and Alex Hamilton.

The teams traded jabs and the Mad Ants took a 48-46 lead on Tra-Deon Hollins’ 3-pointer with 5:15 remaining in the second quarter. Fort Wayne’s lead was up to 61-57 by halftime lead by Alize Johnson’s 15 points and five rebounds.

The back-and-forth game continued and a no-look Alize Johnson pass set up Gray for a 3-pointer and an 83-80 Fort Wayne lead with 1:33 left in the third quarter.

A one-handed put-back by Omari Johnson, on which he drew a foul to turn it into a 3-point play for a 105-101 Fort Wayne lead with 4:32 remaining in the fourth quarter, helped give his team some breathing room.

Notes: According to the NBA, Khris Middleton, who played briefly for the Mad Ants in 2012-13, is the first player to ever ascend from the G League to an All-Star in the NBA. He was selected to represent the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday. Antoine Walker and Josh Howard were also NBA All-Stars, but they played in the G League after their NBA careers.

jcohn@jg.net