Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette Anthony Walker of the Mad Ants gets a dunk off of a rebound against Windy City, 2nd quarter, Tuesday.
Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette Stephan Hicks of the Mad Ants hits an open shot over Alfonso McKinnie of Windy City, 2nd quarter, Tuesday.
Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette Alex Poythress of the Mad Ants fouls Aaron Thomas of Windy City, 1st quarter, Tuesday.
Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette Trey McKinney-Jones, left, and Stephan Hicks of the Mad Ants sandwich Wesley Saunders of Windy City, 1st quarter, Tuesday.
Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette Trey McKinney-Jones of the Mad Ants is fouled on his drive by Thomas Walkup of Windy City, 1st quarter, Tuesday.
Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette Alex Poythress of the Mad Ants lands on Alfonso McKinnie of Windy City for a defensive foul, 2nd quarter, Tuesday.
Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette Mad Ants and Windy City Bulls go up for a rebound, 2nd quarter, Tuesday.
Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette Mad Ants head coach Steve Gansey sketches out a play against Windy City, 1st quarter, Tuesday.
Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette Travis Leslie of the Mad Ants scores over JJ Avila of Windy City, 1st quarter, Tuesday.
Tuesday, January 03, 2017 7:38 pm
Mad Ants big, fast in victory
Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette
The Mad Ants had plenty of time to mull one of the most frustrating games of the season. And they responded by using more size than usual, playing at a frenetic pace and defeating the Windy City Bulls 122-115 tonight in front of an announced crowd of 1,896 at Memorial Coliseum.
Trey McKinney Jones and rookie Jordan Loyd had 22 points apiece to lead Central Division-leading Fort Wayne (13-5), which had lost 94-92 to the Westchester Knicks on Friday in a game in which coach Steve Gansey felt the players weren’t focused or energetic enough.
Christian Watford had a season-high 17, as Fort Wayne went above 121 points for only the second time this season. Its season high came in the 130-125 victory over Sioux Falls on Nov. 20, the second game of the season.
Windy City (6-11) was paced by Will Bynum's 22 points but fell to 0-2 against the Mad Ants, who are almost at the end of a 12-game stretch that includes 10 games at the Coliseum. The Mad Ants have won seven of their last 11 games.
After Friday’s game at the Coliseum against Raptors 905, the Mad Ants play eight games on the road – including the D-League Showcase on Jan. 18 to 22 in Mississauga, Ontario – and then return to the Coliseum for a Feb. 2 game against Erie.
McKinney Jones hop-stepped through three defenders before making an underhand shot and drawing a foul on Thomas Walkup to kick off a 14-4 run for the Mad Ants that culminated with back-to-back 3-pointers from Watford for a 38-31 lead with 29 seconds left in the first quarter. Watford, a former Indiana University player, got his first start of the season.
Clearly, Gansey was trying to infuse more height into the lineup by starting the 6-foot-9 Watford and 6-8 rookie Alex Poythress (6-8), and beginning the second quarter with 6-9 Anthony Walker, who had played only six minutes this season after 129 through all of last season.
Seconds after entering, Walker had a thunderous dunk followed by 3s from Watford and another former IU player, Nick Zeisloft, for a 46-35 lead as Fort Wayne made seven of its first 15 shots from beyond the arc.
Watford made four of his first five shots – all from 3-point range – to equal a season high with 12 points with less than three minutes elapsed in the second quarter.
Travis Leslie’s 12-foot jump shot, set up by Julyan Stone’s pass from the baseline, gave Fort Wayne a 70-54 lead with 35 seconds left in the quarter. And Stone’s 3-pointer with 8:25 remaining in the third quarter gave Fort Wayne an 85-64 lead.
Windy City answered with a 15-3 run, culminating with back-to-back 3-pointers from Andre Dawkins, to cut the Mad Ants’ lead to nine at 88-79 with 4:42 left in the third quarter.
McKinney Jones went end to end for a lay-up at the third-quarter buzzer and a 101-89 Fort Wayne lead. And McKinney Jones’ steal of the ball from Bynum for a lay-up with 10 minutes left in the fourth made it 106-93.
Notes: Leslie had the most starts, eight, of the Fort Wayne players who came off the bench. … Former Indiana star A.J. Guyton is an assistant to Windy City head coach Nate Loenser, who was given a technical foul in the third quarter for shattering a dry-erase board upon learning a flagrant foul had been called on Alex Brown for hitting Leslie. … Former Purdue player Jon Octeus played for Windy City.