Skip to main content

The Journal Gazette

  • Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette Erie's Kalin Lucas, left, releases a three-point shot as Mad Ants forward Rakeem Christmas tries to block the shot during the Mad Ants' 102-100 loss to the Bayhawks on Sunday at Memorial Coliseum.

  • Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird watches the Mad Ants play the Erie Bayhawks on Sunday at Memorial Coliseum.

  • Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette Mad Ants center Alex Poythress, left, clears out Erie's Stephen Zimmerman as he takes a shot during the first half of their game on Sunday at Memorial Coliseum.

  • Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette Rakeem Christmas, center, pulls in an offensive rebound before attempting a put-back shot during the Mad Ants' 102-100 loss to the Erie Bayhawks on Sunday at Memorial Coliseum.

  • Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette Mad Ants forward Stephan Hicks, left, passes the basketball under the outstretched arm of Erie's Stephen Zimmerman during the first half of their game on Sunday at Memorial Coliseum.

  • Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette Mad Ants guard Julyan Stone, right, tries to knock a rebound away from Erie's Kalin Lucas, center, and Anthony Brown during their game on Sunday at Memorial Coliseum.

  • Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette Erie's Stephen Zimmerman, left, tries to block a shot by Mad Ants guard Trey McKinney-Jones during the first half of their game on Sunday at Memorial Coliseum.

  • Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette Erie's John Petrucelli, center left, pulls back as Mad Ants' forward Stephan Hicks lays out for a fade-away jumper during the first half of their game on Sunday at Memorial Coliseum.

  • Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette Mad Ants forward Ben Bentil. left, pulls up for a jump shot with Erie's Reggis Onwukamuche playing tight on him during the Mad Ants' 102-100 loss to the Bayhawks on Sunday at Memorial Coliseum.

  • Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette Erie's Reggis Onwukamuche, center left, swats the basketball away from Mad Ants forward Ben Bentil during the Mad Ants' 102-100 loss to the Bayhawks on Sunday at Memorial Coliseum.

  • Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette Mad Ants forward Ben Bentil, left, pulls up for a three-point shot as Erie's Anthony Brown tries to contest the shot during the Mad Ants' 102-100 loss to the Bayhawks on Sunday at Memorial Coliseum.

Sunday, February 12, 2017 5:37 pm

Back-and-forth game ends in Mad Ants loss

Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette

So much of the Mad Ants’ game Sunday suggested they were destined for a victory. There was a 59-33 advantage in rebounds, including a 24-6 edge at the offensive end. There was an 8-6 edge in steals and a terrific 23-point game from Trey McKinney Jones.

Heck, even the attendance at Memorial Coliseum was stellar as 5,444 tickets were out, making it the first sellout in the team’s 10-year history.

But the Mad Ants lost 102-100 to the Erie BayHawks, who went up 97-96 on a Stephen Zimmerman free throw with 1:28 remaining and didn’t squander it in a game that had 22 lead changes.

The Mad Ants had a chance to win it with 10 seconds left, but Alex Poythress’ drive through the lane ended with the ball rolling just off the rim as Fort Wayne (19-12) lost for the third time in the last five games.

“Sometimes you’ve got games like this. Unfortunately it didn’t end up in our favor. The game was tied with a minute and a half left and at that point, it’s just about who wants it more. They made plays down the stretch and we didn’t,” said McKinney Jones, who made 8 of 17 shots.

Poythress had 19 points and a game-high 12 rebounds for the Mad Ants, who play host to Canton on Tuesday, but there were a number of plays late in the game where they were tipping the ball around the basket.

“There’s one saying where you’ve got to grab it, not tip it. If you grab it, then go up. Shot-fakes always work and that’s what I’ve always been told. You can go up there and get a foul at least, shoot some free throws,” Ants coach Steve Gansey said. “But we didn’t grab them. We 24 offensive rebounds and you would have thought we would have won the game.”

Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird attended the game, though it wasn’t the largest attendance for a Mad Ants game ever. They had 6,659 for a March 19, 2011, game against Springfield.

Capacity this season was reduced to 4,814 by use of a curtaining system, to help the ambiance. The Mad Ants had so many people for Military Appreciation Night today that they added seating and the atmosphere was electric.

Erie (11-23) got 24 points from Gabe York in its victory.

Video highlights are above.