LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Fort Wayne Mad Ants controlled a majority of the second half, but Austin’s Luka Samanic was tough in crunch time. The Spurs’ post scored 18 of his game-high 26 points in the fourth quarter and Austin (4-0) sprinted ahead late to pull out the 116-111 win.
Fort Wayne (1-3) opened up the scoring before Austin went on an 8-0 run to pull out to the early lead in the first quarter. Jalen Lecque ended the Fort Wayne drought at the 8:54 mark, driving the lane for a dunk through traffic. A Lecque three pointer a minute later cut the Austin lead to 10-7. A Nate Renfro three pointer near the six minute mark extended Austin’s lead back to 19-11 and the Spurs took a double digit lead at 23-13 with 5:11 to play in the first on a Robert Woodward II basket.
Fort Wayne closed within four points, but trailed 33-24 after the first quarter.
The second quarter was full of trading baskets early but Fort Wayne started to get some momentum and took a 42-41 lead with 6:07 to play on a Naz Mitrou-Long drive and score before Kenny Williams hit back with a three pointer on the other end for Austin. Fort Wayne led by as many as five with three minutes to play in the second on Brian Bowen II’s free throw worth two points. The highlight of the first half was a seven second sequence from Devin Robinson, who scored with a slam at the 5:39 mark to tie the game at 44. Robinson then hustled back for a chase down block of Tre Jones on the other end. Fort Wayne’s six point lead was drawn back in as Austin cut the lead to 55-53 with 24 seconds to play as Luka Samanic hit a free throw worth two points.
Fort Wayne led 55-53 at the break with a season best 31 point second quarter points.
With 8:36 left in the third quarter, Oshae Brissett’s corner three pushed Fort Wayne’s lead to a then game high nine points. At the 6:22 mark of the third, Daxter Miles Jr. chased down a Jalen Lecque miss, only to shovel it back to a cutting Lecque for a two hand slam that put Fort Wayne up 70-59. Fort Wayne led by 16 at 77-61 with Austin answering in the closing minutes to get as close as six on a Woodward II triple with fifty seconds to play in the third. A Renfro dunk closed it to four and a London Perrantes halfcourt heave for Austin at the buzzer sent the game to the fourth 83-80 in Fort Wayne’s favor.
Fort Wayne stopped an Austin run in the fourth with back to back slams from Robinson and Lecque to extend the gap back to right at 90-82 with 10:25 to play. Samanic’s with back to back baskets, including a three with 8:47 to play, pulled Austin back to 94-89 and a Jones basket on the next possession cut the Fort Wayne lead to three. Woodward II’s putback basket with 7:39 to play got Austin within one before Mitrou-Long fired back with a three pointer.
With 4:19 to play, Samanic pushed his way to the rim for a basket and a foul; Samanic hit the free throw to tie the game up at 99. Another and-one play for Samanic just 29 seconds later gave Austin a 102-101 lead putting Fort Wayne behind for the first time since the first half of play. Austin pushed their lead to 106-105 on the strength of seven straight Samanic points in his big quarter.
Samanic added nine rebounds to his effort while Woodward II scored 22 points and had a game high 15 rebounds. Spurs leading scorer Jones had 19 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
Fort Wayne was led by Lecque’s 25 points, tying a career high. Mitrou-Long added 20, Robinson scored 18 and had a season high 11 rebounds. Rayhsaun Hammonds also matched his career high with 13 points.