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Mad Ants
at Springfield
When: 7 p.m. today
at Maine
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
The Mad Ants’ Sadiel Rojas scored a career-high 36 points Saturday at Iowa.

Winning is the goal for Ants’ Rojas

Scoring spree helps team stay hot even as NBA talent departs

– Something has gotten into Sadiel Rojas lately. Over the last three games, the Mad Ants’ energetic forward has averaged 23.7 points and 11 rebounds.

That includes a career-best 36 points in 142-131 victory at Iowa on Saturday, and 18 rebounds, tying a career high, in a 111-109 victory over Iowa at Memorial Coliseum on Sunday.

Not bad for a player who lost his starting job for seven games, thanks to an influx of NBA-contracted players, and who is known more for his hustle than his scoring.

“I’m just having fun,” said Rojas, 24, who is in his third season with the Mad Ants. “I love my team. I’ve always loved them. And we’re having fun. We’re doing it together, as a team. I’m having fun and am blessed to be playing as well as I am right now.”

The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Rojas, who played in college at Oklahoma Wesleyan, is averaging 12.9 points and 8.5 rebounds in 23 games heading into tonight’s game at Springfield against the Armor (6-15).

The Mad Ants (14-9) have won eight of their last 10 games, though a 120-99 loss at Canton on Wednesday dropped them one game back of the Charge for first place in the East Division.

The Mad Ants don’t have any NBA players right now, after having Solomon Hill from the Indiana Pacers for two games, the Detroit Pistons’ Tony Mitchell for seven games and Peyton Siva for five, and the Memphis Grizzlies’ Jamaal Franklin for three.

Their presence cut into Rojas’ playing time but also sparked the Mad Ants, so he’s fine with what happened.

“You’ve got to be patient (when players are sent down from the NBA), but I enjoy playing with those players because you get to see that next level,” Rojas said. “But you have to be patient and when they do come, I just want to win.

“If you all are here, I want to win. I don’t care if I don’t play, as long as we win. I’m all about winning. If they come down here and we win games, I’m cool with that even if I don’t get as many minutes. That’s the goal, to win.”