The saying goes, “No lead is safe in the G League.” That's especially true these days at Memorial Coliseum, where the Mad Ants have become the masters of the comeback.
They rallied from a paltry 14 points down in the third quarter Monday in front of an announced crowd of 2,094 to secure a 122-114 victory over Raptors 905, two days after setting a G League comeback record by recovering from a 35-point deficit to upend the Canton Charge 124-118 at the Coliseum.
“We've got a gritty group. Guys play hard at both ends,” guard Walt Lemon Jr. said. “I would be irritated going against a gritty team like this. It's a testament to us never quitting. We stay together through thick and thin. We were down by almost 40 and everybody thought we were going to lose the other day. We stayed together and we fought. Today, it was the same thing.”
Lemon had 23 points, 13 assists, 9 rebounds and a career-best 7 steals, as Fort Wayne (15-15) hit the .500 mark for the first time this season.
“We've got to keep pushing to try and play better for a full 48 minutes, that's it,” Mad Ants coach Steve Gansey said. “These guys don't quit on our team and I'm really proud of our guys because we started out 1-8 and pushed our way all the way back to .500. We've got 20 games left. That's a lot of basketball to be played. I'm really proud of our guys, but we've got to continue getting better.”
Indiana Pacers prospect Alize Johnson had 29 points and 10 rebounds. He has a triple-double or double-double in all 10 of his G League games this season. Daxter Miles Jr. had 25 points. And Ben Moore totaled 21 points for the Mad Ants.
Raptors 905 (13-19), based in Mississauga, Ontario, got 23 points from 6-foot-10 Henry Ellenson. He made 5 of 10 3-point shots.
“One of the things in the timeouts I was telling them was: 'We need to control the game, take care of the ball, control the tempo and see what mismatches we want out there and try to exploit them,'” Gansey said, adding double-teams on defense and attacking the basket on offense helped Fort Wayne.
“That was the best free-throw shooting we've had in a long time (going 13 of 16). That's great. We would have won a lot more of those games, if we had taken our time and locked in on those free throws.”
Scoochie Smith, acquired Sunday from Canton for the rights to Omari Johnson, had 10 points in 21:52, despite having only a walk-through with the Mad Ants.
The Mad Ants were without Brian Bowen II, who was called to the Pacers before the game, C.J. Wilcox (illness) and Naz Mitrou-Long (ankle). The Raptors were missing Paul Watson (called to Toronto) and Jawun Evans (hamstring). Starting forward Oshae Brissett left with an apparent ankle injury after 2:54.