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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, March 01, 2017 11:50 pm

Short-handed Mad Ants look great in win

Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette

Just when it looked as if the Mad Ants were in real trouble, they seem to have figured things out. Despite losing Ben Bentil to the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and Julyan Stone to a contract in Italy, the Mad Ants have answered their season-worst five-game losing streak with back-to-back victories.

Led by rookie Jordan Loyd's 30, the Mad Ants had a season-high for points and defeated the Grand Rapids Drive 136-105 on Wednesday night, in front of 2,363 fans at the DeltaPlex Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The Mad Ants’ previous scoring best came in a 132-125 victory over Erie that required overtime Feb. 2.

The Mad Ants remained without rookie all-star Alex Poythress, who was sick after missing a game with a nose injury, and newly signed rookie guard Chris Fowler played only 2 minutes. Newly signed NBA veteran Tyler Hansbrough has yet to take a physical, finalizing his ability to play for the Mad Ants, but they got 29 points from Travis Leslie and 20 apiece from rookies Jarrod Uthoff and Nick Zeisloft.

Rookie Adam Woodbury was a major contributor with four points and a game-best 12 rebounds over 23 minutes.

And Trey McKinney Jones added 18 points for the Mad Ants (21-15), who were up 69-62 at halftime and took control with a 31-22 third-quarter run.

Grand Rapids (20-19) was paced by 27 points from former Mad Ants guard Jordan Crawford. Henry Ellenson and Ray McCallum had 18 points apiece.

The Mad Ants play host to Westchester on Friday, when they will retire the No. 19 of Ron Howard at halftime.