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The Journal Gazette

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Stephan Hicks, of the Mad Ants, slam dunks the ball with Greensboro's Christian Wood looking on in the second quarter of Tuesday's game at the Memorial Coliseum.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016 8:21 pm

Defensive adjustments key for Mad Ants

Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette

Understandably, Nick Zeisloft will get most of the attention for his 3-pointer with 5.1 seconds remaining in the Mad Ants’ 111-110 victory over the Greensboro Swarm at Memorial Coliseum tonight.

And any praise not heaped on the rookie from Indiana University will go to Alex Poythress, the rookie from Kentucky who had 32 points to tie his own mark for a single-game high in points by a Mad Ant this season.

But let’s take a moment to discuss the defense. In the first half, the Mad Ants were getting torn apart by 6-foot-11 NBA prospect Christian Wood, who had 28 points on 11-of-13 shooting. It had me wondering why the Mad Ants aren’t playing Christian Watford, who was supposed to be one of their reliable big men, for the second time in the last four games.

In the second half, Wood was scoreless.

So what changed? The Mad Ants started trapping Wood, guarding the pick and roll better and forced Greensboro into eight turnovers after it had only four in the first half.

Mad Ants coach Steve Gansey made some adjustments, but it’s clear the Mad Ants still need some defensive help in the middle.

“We never want to be down that much at half,” said Trey McKinney Jones, whose Mad Ants were down 68-51 at halftime before going on a 22-9 run. “But I’m happy that we came together. We’ve been beating each other up in practice all week, so I kind of reminded the guys that ... and we needed to go out there and do it to them.”

Even after Zeisloft’s shot, which had actually been designed to be a shot inside the arc, the Mad Ants’ defense came up big again. Archie Goodwin’s shot at the buzzer was desperation.

(Video of the Zeisloft winning shot is above.)