ERIE, Penn. — The Erie BayHawks (28-22), NBA G League affiliate of the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club, took down the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (29-21) tonight, 113-99, in front of a crowd of 5,278. The BayHawks have now officially won the Southeast Division and clinched a spot in the 2018 NBA G League Playoffs.
This is the first time in the BayHawks’ 10-year history that they have won a division title. It also marks the first time since the 2011-12 season that Erie will make a postseason appearance. The BayHawks are the third seed in the Eastern Conference and are guaranteed to host their first round playoff game. Erie will take on its Southeast Division rival, the Lakeland Magic, with the date still to be determined. Information regarding tickets to the first round of the 2018 NBA G League Playoffs will be announced on Monday at 10:00 a.m.
The opening quarter of tonightâ€™s match saw two ties and 10 lead changes. After 12 minutes of play, Fort Wayne held a two-point, 35-33, lead. The Mad Ants would go on to outscore the BayHawks, 26-23, in the second quarter. Heading into the intermission of tonightâ€™s tilt, Fort Wayne held a 61-56 advantage. Raphiael Putney poured in 22 points on 8-10 (.800) shooting, including a 3-5 (.600) clip from deep in 17.2 minutes of action in the first half.
Erie opened the third quarter on a 5-0 run, tying the game at 61, off of a John Gillon three-pointer. After finding themselves in a three-point, 73-70, hole, the BayHawks responded by closing the quarter on a 12-2 run. Heading into the final quarter of action, Erie held an 82-75 lead. The BayHawks put together a 31-point fourth quarter, behind 16 points from John Gillon. Erie would eventually come away with a 113-99 victory.
John Gillon paced the BayHawks with a career-high 40 points on 14-27 (.519) shooting from the floor, including a 6-11 (.545) clip from deep, nine assists, five rebounds, one steal and one block in 41.2 minutes. Raphiael Putney poured in a season-high 32 points on 11-18 (.611) shooting from the floor, seven rebounds and four steals in 37.1 minutes. Craig Sword dished out a team-best 10 assists, to go along with seven points, three rebounds, three steals and one block in 29.5 minutes. Chris McCullough pulled down a team-high 12 rebounds (six offensive), to go along with six points and one block in 21.4 minutes as a reserve.
Jarrod Uthoff notched a double-double for the Mad Ants, tallying 19 points on 7-14 (.500) shooting, including a 2-4 (.500) mark from three-point territory, a game-high 16 rebounds, four assists and one steal in 37.5 minutes. Trey McKinney-Jones registered a team-high 28 points on 11-17 (.647) shooting and three rebounds in 40.4 minutes of play. Tra-Deon Hollins dished out a game-high 12 assists, to go along with six points, six rebounds, a game-best seven steals and one block in 40.4 minutes.