SANTA CRUZ, CA. Jan. 16, 2015 – The reigning NBA D-League champion, Fort Wayne Mad Ants bounced back from a slow start to lock up a 104-98 victory over the Los Angeles D-Fenders on day two of the 2015 NBA D-League Showcase presented by Samsung.
Los Angeles Clippers’ assignee, CJ Wilcox came off the bench for Fort Wayne to score a team-high 27 points and scooped up eight rebounds. Andre Emmett recorded 24 points, nine rebounds, three steals and two assists in the win.
Los Angeles was off to a fast start with a 30-15 lead at the end of the first quarter, behind the scoring of reigning D-League Performer of the Week Jabari Brown, who notched 13 points in the first quarter. Brown entered the game averaging 22.1 points (eighth in the league) and finished with 21 points for the game.
Both teams struggled from three-point range, especially in the first half with the D-Fenders going 0-for-8 and Fort Wayne going 0-for-10. Los Angeles took a 52-43 lead into the locker room. Fort Wayne was able to get it going in the second half and finished shooting .318 (7-for-22) from long distance. Los Angeles continued to struggle and only nailed one of their 14 attempts from beyond the arc.
After trailing the entire game, CJ Fair connected on a three-pointer to give Fort Wayne their first lead of the day at 70-69 with 3:11 remaining in the third quarter. Fair recorded a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds.
Fort Wayne would take control of the game for good, courtesy of Wilcox and Emmett. Los Angeles made one more push, trailing 97-92 with just over three minutes left to try and salvage the game, but Emmett cashed in at the foul line and Wilcox responded with one of his two 3-pointers of the afternoon as the Mad Ants locked up the win in their showcase debut in Santa Cruz.
Vander Blue scored a game-high 32 points on 13-for-20 shooting, to go along with six rebounds, five assists and four steals. The guard out of Marquette has been on fire of late, scoring at least 30 points in five of his previous six games.
Los Angeles will be back in action on Sunday, Jan. 18 vs. the Delaware 87ers at 3:30 p.m. PT. Fort Wayne will round out showcase action on Monday, Jan. 19 vs. the Idaho Stampede at 3:30 p.m. PT.