CANTON, Ohio — James Lemon Jr. notched a near triple-double to lead the Fort Wayne Mad Ants to a 117-113 win over the Canton Charge on Tuesday night. Fort Wayne’s victory snaps its six-game losing streak at the Canton Memorial Civic Center.
For the Mad Ants, Lemon Jr. scored a game-high 30 points and just missed out on a triple-double, grabbing 10 rebounds and handing out seven assists. DeQuan Jones poured in 26 points and grabbed eight rebounds in 36 minutes. Stephan Hicks came off the bench for the Mad Ants, scoring 22 points on 7-of-10 shooting.
The Mad Ants opened the first quarter with a 30-point performance on 12-of-21 shooting from the field (57%). Guard Walter Lemon got off to a hot start with six points, four rebounds and three steals in the first 12 minutes. Canton answered with a solid performance from the field in the first, shooting 46%. Despite being outscored 14-8 in the paint, the Mad Ants held a 30-22 advantage after one period of play.
The Charge answered with a strong second quarter, opening with a 5-0 run to cut the lead to 30-27. The Charge shot 55% from the field on 11-of-20 shooting including 56% from three. Starting guard London Perrantes sparked the offense with six points and five assists in the second frame. A John Holland three three-pointer tied the game at 38-38 for the first time since the opening tip and took the lead, heading into the break leading 52-46.
Leading by 11 with 8:49 remaining in the third, Charge forward Caleb Swanigan collected two technical and was ejected from the game, finishing with four points and eight rebounds in 20 minutes. The Mad Ants went on an ensuing 7-0 run to cut the lead to 61-57 with 6:48 remaining in the third. A Marcus Thornton dunk put the Charge ahead 67-62 before Mad Ants would go on a 6-0 run to regain the lead 68-67 with 3:31 remaining in the third. Walter Lemon Jr and Stephan Hicks combined to score eight points in the in final minute of the third, putting Fort Wayne back in control, 80-75.
Trailing by as many as 14 with under five minutes remaining, Canton’s John Holland and Marcus Thornton combined for an 8-0 run to cut the lead to 114-110 with 19.5 remaining. A deep Thornton three pointer with 5.5 seconds remaining cut the lead to two points before Jarrod Uthoff’s two free throws would seal the game at 117-113.
The Charge had three players post at least 20 points. Holland finished with 29 points and three assists in 36 minutes for the Charge. Thornton added 26 points, connecting on six three-pointers for the second consecutive game. Cavaliers assignee Ante Zizic provided 20 points and eight rebounds off the bench. Perrantes recorded his fifth double-double of his rookie campaign, posting 10 points and 10 assists while also corralling five rebounds in 40 minutes of burn. The Charge won the turnover battle, forcing 17 resulting in 25 points.