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The Journal Gazette


  • Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
    Mad Ant Alex Poythress finsihes a dunk against Austin, 1st quarter, Sunday.

  • Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
    Mad Ant Trey McKinney-Jones gets a good look at the basket against Austin, 2nd quarter, Sunday.

  • Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
    Mad Ant Tyler Hansbrough shoots over Austin's Charles Garcia, 2nd quarter, Sunday.

  • Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
    Mad Ant Ben Bentil is blocked by Austin's Livio Jean-Charles, 2nd quarter, Sunday.

  • Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
    Mad Ant Jordan Loyd looks for a shooting angle against Austin's Livio Jean-Charles, 2nd quarter, Sunday.

  • Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
    Mad Ant Stephan Hicks saves a loose ball in front of Austin's Orlando Johnson, 1st quarter, Sunday.

  • Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
    Mad Ant Ben Bentil is blocked from behind by Austin's Hollis Thompson, 2nd quarter, Sunday.

  • Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
    Mad Ant Trey McKinney Jones draws contact from Patricio Garino of Austin, 2nd quarter, Sunday.

  • Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
    Mad Ant Jordan Loyd is called for charging as he crashes into Austin's Ryan Arcidiacono, 2nd quarter, Sunday.

  • Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
    Mad Ant Marquis Teague defends against Austin's Demetri McCamey, 1st quarter, Sunday.
March 19, 2017 8:06 PM

Shooting goes cold for Mad Ants in loss

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

The Mad Ants’ shooting touch wasn’t there today. So, neither was a victory.

On the heels of winning three of four games, to take a stranglehold of at least the fourth and final seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, the Mad Ants lost 110-88 to the Austin Spurs at Memorial Coliseum.

They remain 1.5 games back of Canton for the third seed with five games remaining.

Orlando Johnson and Livio Jean-Charles had 17 points apiece to lead the Spurs (21-23). Trey McKinney Jones had 16 points for the Mad Ants (26-19), who had opportunities to fight back from a 20-point, early-fourth-quarter deficit but couldn’t make shots when it mattered.

Fort Wayne, which came into the day having won 3 of 4 games, shot 37.2 percent from the field while Austin was at 54.3 percent.

“There are some games where we have mental lapses, where we let games slip away, and we’ve just got to stop doing that,” said Poythress, whose Mad Ants play host to Greensboro on Tuesday night. “That’s the great thing about basketball. It’s not like football where you’ve got to wait a week to play again. In basketball, you’ve got a game and you think about it that night, then the next morning you wake up, practice and (get ready) for the game the next day. We’ll get this taste out of our mouths real quick.

The Mad Ants squandered a four-point first-quarter lead and fell behind 40-27 with 6:58 remaining in the second quarter, after a Hollis Thompson jump shot, a dunk by Jean-Charles and a 12-foot jumper by Jean-Charles.

A drive by Johnson, who drew a foul on former teammate McKinney Jones along the way, gave Austin a 47-31 lead with 3:47 remaining in the second quarter.

The lead grew to 22 points at 73-51 with 7:17 left in the third quarter, when Jean-Charles drained a hook shot.

After playing only 4:26 in Saturday’s 116-109 victory over Delaware, his first action since missing nine games with a call-up to the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and then a back injury, Ben Bentil had nine points over 20:44 for the Mad Ants.

The Mad Ants began to make a comeback with a Bentil 3-pointer followed by a sequence in which McKinney Jones stole the ball for a lay-up and a foul, and then another McKinney Jones lay-up, cutting the Austin lead to 80-69 with 2:15 left in the third quarter.

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Nick Zeisloft cut it to 92-81 with 9:19 remaining in the fourth quarter, but the Spurs quickly regained a big lead.

“Again, it breaks down to being consistent,” Mad Ants coach Steve Gansey said. “We’ve just got to continue to watch film and tell these guys that they need to be ready to play. (Saturday night) was a huge win for us, in terms of the playoff push here, but if we’re going to be a good playoff team then we need to continue to bring it every single night.”

Larry Bird, the president of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, who own and operate the Mad Ants, attended a second straight game. He saw Tyler Hansbrough have 13 points and eight rebounds, on the heels of a 31-point game, and Travis Leslie had 11 points for Fort Wayne.

“This was his third game this year," Gansey said. "The Pacers play today and that tells you how invested he is, coming last night, spending the night in Fort Wayne and missing the Pacer game to come check out us. He’s just watching everybody. I went out to dinner with him last night and he was asking about every single one of our guys and their work ethic and what they can do to help us win.”