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  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Mad Ants' Stephan Hicks, left, runs with the ball as Windy City's Aaron Thomas tries to keep up during the first half of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants vs. Windy City Bulls at the Memorial Coliseum on Saturday. GALLERY

Saturday, December 03, 2016 7:38 pm

Reasons why Mad Ants are impressive

Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette

The Mad Ants will get Sunday off and then practice Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. That’s notable only because they haven’t had hardly any time to work on things. Since Nov. 22, they’ve played six games in three cities and two countries.

Yet they are 7-1 – the best record to start a season in their 10-year history – after a 95-83 victory tonight over the Windy City Bulls, led by rookie Alex Poythress’ 18 points, 10 rebounds and 10-for-10 free-throw shooting.

The Mad Ants, who had tied Westchester’s D-League record from 2015 with a 6-0 start, were coming off their first loss of the season, 109-107 to Raptors 905 in Mississauga, Ontario, on Thursday night.

They snapped the four-game winning streak of the Bulls (5-4), who were led by Aaron Thomas’ 19 points and Alfonzo McKinnie’s 18 points and 14 rebounds.

Travis Leslie had 15 points and 11 rebounds for Fort Wayne. Trey McKinney Jones had 14 points. Stephan Hicks added 13.

Fort Wayne next plays Thursday at Memorial Coliseum against the Maine Red Claws.

“Windy City Bulls is a pretty good team. We knew it was going to be a tough, grind-it-out game,” said Mad Ants coach Steve Gansey, after his team recovered from a 10-point second-quarter deficit.

“They’ve got a really good point guard in (Spencer) Dinwiddie and it was going to be a good match-up between him and (Julyan) Stone.They jumped out on us early. We didn’t necessarily shoot the ball the way we had been. We were 9 for 30 from 3-point range and 38.4 percent from the field, so it was our worst percentage game, but we just grinded it out.”

I’m really impressed with a lot with the Mad Ants right now: