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The Journal Gazette

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Mad Ants guard Trey McKinney Jones goes up for a shot against Delaware forward Christian Wood in the first quarter Friday night. 

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Delaware guard Kyle Randall left and Mad Ants guard DeQuan Jones make contact while driving down the court shortly before Jones getting ejected in the first quarter Friday night at Memorial Coliseum.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Mad Ants guard Trey McKinney Jones scores under the basket in the second quarter against Delaware Friday night at Memorial Coliseum.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Mad Ants center Ike Anigbogu scores under the basket over Delaware forward Shawn Long in the third quarter Friday night at Memorial Coliseum.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Mad Ants guard Trey McKinney Jones drives to the basket in the second quarter against Delaware Friday night at Memorial Coliseum.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Mad Ants guard Trey McKinney Jones scores under the basket over Delaware forward Christian Wood in the first quarter Friday night at Memorial Coliseum.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Mad Ants forward Michael Orris drives to the basket in the third quarter against Delaware Friday night at Memorial Coliseum.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Delaware forward Devin Robinson left and Mad Ants guard Trey McKinney Jones shove each other under the basket in the first quarter Friday night at Memorial Coliseum.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Mad Ants center Ike Anigbogu scores under the basket in the second quarter against Delaware Friday night at Memorial Coliseum.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Mad Ants center Ike Anigbogu looks to pass the ball in the second quarter against Delaware Friday night at Memorial Coliseum.  

Saturday, March 10, 2018 1:00 am

Mad Ants 113 Delaware 110

Technicals, poor decisions mar Ants' win

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

Walt Lemon Jr. was on the court at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, playing for the Pelicans. DeQuan Jones was in the Memorial Coliseum locker room, thanks to an early ejection from a game that had a whopping nine technical fouls.

Despite the absences of their two leading scorers, the Mad Ants still managed to snag a 113-110 victory over the Delaware 87ers on Friday.

Although it might sound like a testament to the Mad Ants' perseverance, more than anything it was a game they'd like to forget. From Jones' lack of composure, to Stephan Hicks missing two key late free throws, to ill-conceived plays such as Jamil Wilson hurling the ball the length of the court to try and run out clock and almost turning the ball over as time expired, Fort Wayne coach Steve Gansey walked off the court thinking his Central Division-leading team still has much growing to do with six games left in the regular season.

“We need to work on a lot of things. Finishing games is No. 1. It shouldn't have even been that close,” Gansey said. “We were missing free throws at the end. We almost turned the ball over at the end right underneath (the basket) and that would have been 1.5 seconds left and their ball, down three points. That's tough. I'm not very happy.

“I feel like my high school coach where we'd win by 15 and everyone would be like, 'Yeah, we won.' And he'd be like, 'But we should have won by 30.' If we're one of the top teams in the (conference), we've got to play like it and we're not playing like it.”

Trey McKinney Jones led Fort Wayne (26-18) by scoring 23 points with nine rebounds. Indiana Pacers rookie Ike Anigbogu had a career-best 20 points. Hicks added 19.

The officials lost control of the game early, as players from both teams were hurling shoulders into one another. Things came to a boil with 3:22 left in the first quarter, when Delaware's Devin Robinson fouled Jones as he drove to the basket and then shoved him as he landed out of bounds. Angered, Jones swung his head around and was chin to chin with Robinson before things dissipated.

The referees determined Jones' motion was an attempt to head butt and that he would get a double-technical foul.

Jones, the G League's Player of the Month for December, was coming off back-to-back 37-point games, and he finished with six points.

“You can't head butt anybody. It's not UFC. So he's got to be smarter. He's been our horse the last month and a half and we needed him,” Gansey said.

The Mad Ants' lineup was already in flux as Tra-Deon Hollins had an ankle injury and couldn't play. Michael Orris made his debut and totaled five points over 25:44. Rookie Edmond Sumner also returned after missing seven games following the death of his brother and some time with the Pacers, and he had 17 points and six rebounds.

“It was an ugly game. We made a lot of mistakes. But in the end, the win is what's most important,” McKinney Jones said.

Fort Wayne had 16 of the game's 28 turnovers in front of 4,422 fans, who saw the 87ers get six technical fouls – all but one for complaining to the referees. James Young had 34 points for Delaware (13-32). Christian Wood had 25. Shawn Long had 15 before he was ejected.

“It was tough to catch a rhythm with all the fouls. It was just an abnormal game, with or without D.J. ... You've really got to chalk it up to an ugly win,” McKinney Jones said.

jcohn@jg.net