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From Zooperstars to D-League stars

Check out the highlights of the Mad Ants' game against the Sioux Falls Skyforce form Feb. 8, 2014, when Orlando Johnson made his season debut with Fort Wayne after getting sent down by the NBA's Indiana Pacers.

Mad Ants solve Sioux Falls

They win after overcoming 16-point deficit

Led by 18 points from Tony R. Mitchell, the Mad Ants got back to their winning ways, defeating the Sioux Falls Skyforce 93-81 at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night.

The Mad Ants came into the game having won 10 of their last 15 games, but they were coming off a 97-95 road loss to lowly Erie on Wednesday and had dropped their only two games to the Skyforce this season.

Things didn't look good early, as the Skyforce built a 16-point lead at 37-21 with 9:19 remaining in the second quarter.

With yet another new lineup – Orlando Johnson was sent down by the Indiana Pacers on Thursday – the Mad Ants (17-12) needed some time to work on their chemistry.

It came together with a 38-20 run in the second and third quarters, combined, which culminated with a Ron Howard 3-pointer from the corner for a 59-57 Mad Ants lead. On their next possession, the Mad Ants' Chris Porter fought his way through a crowd to put back a miss by Johnson for a 61-57 lead.

Johnson spent four games last season with the Mad Ants as a rookie, averaging 23.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists. In 36 games this season with the Pacers, he averaged 2.5 points and 9.4 minutes per game.

On Saturday, he had 13 points and 8 rebounds.

By the time Tony R. Mitchell drove through the lane and scooped the ball in with 6:36 remaining in the game, the Mad Ants had built a 12-point lead at 82-70.

A Johnson pass into the paint for the other Tony Mitchell – a prospect of the Detroit Pistons – led to a lay-up and an 87-74 lead for Fort Wayne that put the game out of reach with 2:48 remaining.

For Fort Wayne, Howard had 12 points and Sadiel Rojas added 10.

Sioux Falls (17-11) was paced by Henry Walker's 15 points.

The Mad Ants expect to have Johnson two more games. Peyton Siva and Tony Mitchell, on assignment from the Pistons, should have three more games with Fort Wayne.

For more on this story return to after 3 a.m. or see Sunday's Journal Gazette.