A night for the dogs

On a night when the Mad Ants' four-game winning streak came to an end in an ugly game with the Austin Toros, the dogs stole the show with their halftime act.

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Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette
The Mad Ants’ Chris Porter looks to shoot past Austin’s Malcolm Thomas during the first half Friday at the Coliseum.

Cure for Ants loss: Amnesia

– The remedy for this is simple.

“We need to have amnesia about tonight’s game,” Mad Ants coach Conner Henry said, after a 119-90 loss to the Austin Toros at Memorial Coliseum on Friday night.

“We need to get over it quickly. We’ve had a pretty good go the last 11 games. … That being said, not doing some of the things that made us successful is always a concern. I just told the guys that we have to forget this one tonight.

“This is really the first game all year where we just haven’t been solid. We need to bounce back.”

The good news is the Mad Ants (10-8), whose four-game winning streak was snapped, don’t have a long time to stew over the humiliating loss in front of 2,061 fans. The Mad Ants play host to Iowa tonight.

“That’s perfect,” Henry said. “Most of the guys in there have already forgot about it. But there are a few guys who (need to improve).”

The Mad Ants were led by Ron Howard’s 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting. He has led Fort Wayne in scoring in all but two games this season.

Ramon Harris had 17 points, including 4-of-5 shooting from 3-point range. Tony R. Mitchell, last season’s D-League Rookie of the Year with Fort Wayne, had 14 points in his second game since returning from China. Will Frisby had nine points and 11 rebounds.

Austin (9-8) was paced by 22 points and five assists from Nando De Colo, who is on assignment from the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs. Courtney Fells added 16 points, as the Toros had seven players score in double figures.

“It just wasn’t our night. We didn’t really play together and that’s the biggest thing, on both offense and defense,” said Fort Wayne’s Trey McKinney-Jones, who had seven points. “The games that were close for us throughout the whole season, we played together as a team. I think that’s where the difference was tonight.”

The Mad Ants, who had won nine of their last 11 games, were without both of their players on assignment from the NBA’s Detroit Pistons; Peyton Siva had a wrist injury and the other Tony Mitchell had an ankle injury. They are both slated to return to the Pistons after playing Iowa (12-5).

Fort Wayne did have the services Friday of an NBA player, guard Jamaal Franklin, who was reassigned by the Memphis Grizzlies after being gone from the D-League for two games.

Franklin has averaged 11.5 points over two games with Fort Wayne.

Franklin’s 3-pointer with 2:19 remaining in the first quarter, which cut Austin’s lead to nine points at 29-20, was the last time Fort Wayne threatened to be in the game.

By the time Austin’s Malcolm Thomas, another Spurs prospect, made a 3-pointer with 7:59 remaining in the second quarter, the Toros had full control with a 46-28 lead.

Austin’s lead grew to as many as 33 points; an Eric Dawson dunk put the Toros up 113-80 with 4:33 left in the game.

“We’ve had a lot of close games, wins and losses, but it just wasn’t our night. We didn’t play together and that’s what I give it to,” said McKinney-Jones, whose Mad Ants hadn’t lost by more than seven points before Friday.

jcohn@jg.net

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