The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, March 26, 2019 1:00 am

Mad Ants top moments

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

Although the Mad Ants missed the postseason this year, finishing 23-27 for third place in the Central Division, there were plenty of memorable moments from the season.

Here's a look at the top five highlights:

Edmond Sumner shows he's back: If there was any doubt that Sumner was recovered from the knee injury he suffered at Xavier in 2017, they were put to rest Jan. 7 in a 122-108 victory over the Stockton Kings at Memorial Coliseum. He had 30 points on 12-of-17 shooting and showed a better propensity for protecting the ball, which had dogged him earlier in the season. After Victor Oladipo suffered a season-ending injury with the Indiana Pacers later in January, Sumner's two-way contract was converted to a standard NBA contract.

Mr. Double-Double ignites: We're used to seeing the Alize Johnson double-double now – he had 23 in 31 games  – but on Nov. 10 we didn't know yet he was capable of such dominance. In a 133-105 victory over the Maine Red Claws at the Coliseum, Johnson totaled 27 points and 20 rebounds, four short of Rob Kurz's 2010 record. It was the second game of Johnson's professional career, and he made 11 of 20 shots with 12 offensive rebounds.

Rob Gray goes off: The rookie totaled 46 points in a 127-123 road victory Feb. 13 over the Lakeland Magic, which won the Southeast Division. It was the third-highest scoring output in Mad Ants history, behind Tony Mitchell's 49- and 47-point games in 2012-13. Gray made 12 of 24 shots and was 18 of 19 from the free-throw line.

Long-range guru: Omari Johnson normally carries his teams in scoring, but this season he was asked to be a leader and take a back seat to some of the youngsters. He still showed he's one of the G League's all-time greats. In a 100-99 loss to the Canton Charge on Feb. 23 at the Coliseum, Johnson had 28 points and became No. 2 all time in G League 3-pointers made, making 8 of 15 to surpass Moses Ehambe. Johnson is now at 562, behind Andre Ingram's 772.

Clutch shot: The most exciting conclusion of the season saw the Mad Ants win 120-119 over the Erie BayHawks at the Coliseum, thanks to an Omari Johnson shot at the buzzer. The BayHawks appeared headed to victory when former Mad Ants player Alex Poythress was driving to a basket in the paint, but Davon Reed came seemingly out of nowhere to block the shot. Mad Ants coach Steve Gansey eschewed taking a timeout and allowed Tra-Deon Hollins to sprint down the court, spin and send a pass to Stephan Hicks, whose layup was swatted away by Poythress. Omari Johnson got the leftovers and made a 12-foot shot at the buzzer.

– Justin A. Cohn,The Journal Gazette

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