FORT WAYNE, Ind. The Fort Wayne Mad Ants picked up a 116-112 win over the College Park Skyhawks on Friday night at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Fort Wayne shot a season best 56.7 percent from the field, including 75 percent in the opening quarter to snap a three game losing skid. Stephan Hicks scored 30 points to lead Fort Wayne (19-21); it was the third best scoring game of Hicks’ G League career and he added nine rebounds.
Walt Lemon Jr. added 26 points and had six assists, Alize Johnson scored 20 and Ben Moore rounded out the double digit Fort Wayne scorers with 14 points and three blocked shots.
College Park was paced by three 20-plus point scorers, led by Charles Brown Jr.’ 23. Cat Barber registered a double-double by adding 11 assists to his 22 points; his second best assist total of the season. Rounding out the top Skyhawk scorers was Mark Ogden Jr.’s career high 21 points
It was a quick start for College Park (20-21), jumping out to a 4-0 lead before a Hicks three pointer with 8:42 left in the first quarter pushed the Mad Ants ahead for the first time, 7-6. The Mad Ants’ all-time leader in three point makes added another triple with 6:52 left in the quarter to extend the Fort Wayne lead to 14-10. With 2:08 left, it was again Hicks as he put home a floater that extended the Fort Wayne lead ten at 26-16.
Fort Wayne led 35-21 at the first break after Naz Mitrou-Long buried a 30 footer with 2.5 seconds left on the clock. Fort Wayne hit 75 percent of their first quarter shots compared to 32 percent shooting from the floor by College Park.
The Skyhawks soared back in a strong second quarter, turning a 17 point deficit into just a five point game at halftime. Cat Barber went 5-of-5 in the quarter to score a third of the College Park second quarter points with 10 points to go along with two steals in the second.
With College Park threatening in the third, it was Walt Lemon Jr., in his first game back after a four game paternity leave absence, that took some control. With 8:23 left in the third, Lemon Jr. successfully converted an and-one opportunity to push Fort Wayne’s lead to 66-60. College Park got the game down to one point at the 4:02 mark, 74-73, on a Kenny Gabriel free throw worth two points. Again the Mad Ants made a run, highlighted by Daxter Miles Jr. beating the shot clock with a three pointer with 2:40 to play in the third and the lead was again seven in Fort Wayne’s favor.
With 8:34 left in the fourth quarter, Mitrou-Long pushed the lead back to 10 at 94-84 with a three pointer, answered immediately by College Park’s Charles Brown Jr.’s three point make, which was in turn, answered by Alize Johnson’s three pointer to push the lead back to 10 again. A goaltending call against Kavell Bigby-Williams midway through the fourth quarter opened the doors again for College Park. With 4:39 left in the game, Mark Ogden Jr. converted a College Park and-one to get back within single digits at 103-94 and Barber scored on the next possession to briefly cut the deficit to seven. The Skyhawks got the game down to four with 2:53 left in the game when Tahjere McCall stripped Lemon Jr. and scored on the break.
Alize Johnson’s push ahead to Miles Jr. for a basket and a foul extended the lead back to 111-103 to help sustain against another College Park run. That final Skyhawk push was completed with a Jordan Sibert three pointer with 56.2 seconds left that made it a 111-110 game, forcing a Fort Wayne timeout that helped them settle to close out the game.