The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, January 25, 2022 3:30 pm

'Hungry to play': Taylor excels in Mad Ants' OT victory

Has 39 points, and York adds 35, in comeback at Indianapolis

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

Terry Taylor and Gabe York had monster games to lead the Mad Ants to a 130-129 overtime victory over the Maine Celtics at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis this afternoon.

Taylor, a rookie, totaled a career-high 39 points, making 17 of 29 shots, and had 13 rebounds. York had 35 points, converting 14 of 25 shots, including 5 of 11 from 3-point range, and added seven assists.

“I play bigger than what I am and I’m always going to play hard,” said Taylor, 6-foot-5, from Austin Peay. “I’m always telling my teammates, like, 'Come on, we’ve got this.’ We’re always going to be undersized, but we’ve got the most heart and we’re always going to fight everybody to the end.

“They depend on me to do a lot of stuff, like make big rebounds and make big defensive stops, … and we’ve got a lot of guys who lead this team in different categories or different ways.”

York had the game-winning shot, a finger-roll with 21.3 seconds remaining in overtime, after which Maine got missed shots from Denzel Valentine floater and Brodric Thomas on an attempted tip-in.

The Mad Ants (3-4) trailed 125-115 with 1:22 remaining in the fourth quarter before a Justin Anderson 3-pointer sparked a run of 10 straight points to close regulation. Taylor forced overtime by converting a turnaround jumper with 12.6 seconds remaining, drawing a foul on Juwan Morgan and making the free throw.

“He’s just hungry to play,” Mad Ants coach Tom Hankins said of Taylor, who had been with the Indiana Pacers for Monday night’s game at New Orleans and didn’t get back until 2:30 a.m. before the Mad Ants’ noon game. “He loves to play. When he’s with the Pacers, he enjoys it. But then when he sees us playing and he’s with the Pacers, it bothers him that he’s not playing. He enjoys both ends of it, but he loves to play and he was ready to get back with us.

“He just keeps getting better. He’s obviously phenomenal around the basket. He works hard, he’s a great kid and very coachable, and he keeps getting better and better.”

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