ERIE, Penn. — The Erie BayHawks (2-0), NBA G League affiliate of the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club, defeated the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (0-1), 116-119, tonight inside the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Erie now advances to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time in franchise history.
The BayHawks opened up tonight’s contest on a 21-8 run, before DeQuan Jones knocked down a layup for the Mad Ants. After the first 12 minutes of play, Erie held an 11-point, 35-24, lead. The BayHawks opened up the second quarter on an 11-2 run, extending their lead to 20, 46-26, at the 9:46 mark of the quarter. After building a 27-point, 64-37, lead, the Mad Ants finished the half on a 22-9 run. Heading into the intermission of tonight’s Eastern Conference Semifinals, the BayHawks held a 73-59 advantage. Erie’s 73 points is a season-high for most points scored in either half (regular season and postseason).
The Mad Ants were able to narrow their deficit to single digits off of an Edmond Sumner layup with 3.4 seconds left to play in the third quarter. Heading into the final quarter of play, the BayHawks found themselves up by nine points, 96-87. Fort Wayne inched its way closer to Erie’s lead, getting within two points with only 12.0 seconds left in regulation, 118-116. Raphiael Putney split a pair of free throws with 9.9 seconds left, to give the BayHawks a three-point,119-116, victory.
Andrew White III notched a team-high 26 points on 10-17 (.714) shooting from the floor, including a 5-9 (.556) clip from the three-point line, two rebounds, two assists and one steal in 30.5 minutes as a reserve. Josh Magette recorded a double-double in tonight’s win, finishing with a game-high 12 assists, to go along with 21 points, four rebounds and two steals in 38.3 minutes. Raphiael Putney also recorded a double-double, tallying a game-best 12 rebounds, in addition to 14 points, two assists and two blocks in 36.0 minutes. Jeremy Evans contributed 24 points on 10-14 (.714) shooting from the floor, including a perfect 3-3 (1.000) mark from three-point territory, seven rebounds, three assists and a game-high three blocks in 36.4 minutes.
Fort Wayne was led by DeQuan Jones’ game-high 29 points on 11-22 (.500) shooting from the floor, a team-high 11 rebounds and two assists in 37.2 minutes. Edmond Sumner tallied 18 points on 7-11 (.636) shooting, seven rebounds and a teamâ€”high two blocks in 21.0 minutes as a reserve. Jamil Wilson dished out a team-best five assists, to go along with 10 points and seven rebounds in 26.2 minutes of play. The Mad Ants outscored the BayHawks in points in the paint, 68-38 (+30).
The BayHawks will square off against the Raptors 905 in the Eastern Conference Finals on Friday at 8:00 p.m. inside Erie Insurance Arena. Friday’s match will be aired nationally on ESPNews. Tickets to Erie’s first-ever Eastern Conference Finals contest will go on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. Tickets can be bought online at www.erieevents.com or at the Erie Insurance Arena Box Office.