DETROIT — DeQuan Jones scored 26 points as the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (25-15) defeated the Grand Rapids Drive (22-19) by a 115-104 final at Little Caesars Arena on Wednesday. The Mad Ants won their fifth straight game and ended the Drive’s season-long eight-game winning streak in the process, strengthening their Central Division lead to 3.5 games.
Jones played a game-high 42 minutes, adding eight rebounds to go with his 26 points. Jarrod Uthoff scored 19 points off the bench as well for Fort Wayne, Ben Moore had 17 points and Tra-Deon Hollins’ 12 points and 10 assists gave him the team’s only double-double.
KJ McDaniels had 22 points and nine rebounds, leading the Drive in scoring and continuing to provide scoring punch as a reserve. Landry Nnoko scored 15 points with 11 rebounds and Kay Felder also had 15 points, five rebounds and six assists. The Drive outscored the Mad Ants by six points in McDaniels’ 35 minutes, but in the other 13 minutes they were outscored by 17 points.
That deficit mainly came from the first half, where Fort Wayne outscored the Drive 34-20 in the second quarter to take a 16-point halftime lead. The Drive put together a couple of surges but were ultimately unable to chip away consistently enough at the lead. Grand Rapids did not lead after the first quarter and never had a lead larger than two points.
The two teams were quite statistically similar by the end of the game, with the Mad Ants overcoming a rebounding disadvantage with slightly better shooting efficiency (48 percent from the floor). However, their real standout trait was the foul line, as they drew 30 attempts to the Drive’s 20, and those extra attempts made a big difference in the final outcome as both team converted around three-quarters of their tries.