The Mad Ants lineup lacked the flair of having NBA prospects, but it didn't lack a winning form.
Paced by Tony R. Mitchell's 27 points, the Mad Ants defeated the Sioux Falls Skyforce 89-83 tonight at Memorial Coliseum.
It was the 13th victory in the last 19 games for the Mad Ants (19-13), a run that began Jan. 3.
Fort Wayne is 2-2 this season against Sioux Falls (19-12), which was paced by Justin Hamilton's 17 points.
After Wednesday's 118-103 victory over Bakersfield at Memorial Coliseum, all three of the Mad Ants' NBA prospects were recalled. Orlando Johnson went back to the Indiana Pacers, while Peyton Siva and the other Tony Mitchell went to the Detroit Pistons.
The reshaped Mad Ants fell behind early, just as they had the day before, and they trailed 26-13 before going on a 17-4 run to tie the game. Tony R. Mitchell led the way in the surge with 11 points and a great assist – he was falling out of bounds when he took a pass from Ron Howard and sent the ball, one-handed, to Chris Porter under the glass for a layup with 6:31 left in the second quarter.
The Skyforce answered, though, and a Larry Drew 3-pointer put them up 44-35 with 1:06 remaining in the quarter. The Sioux Falls lead was up to 12 points at 56-44, when the Mad Ants came storming back again.
Darnell Lazare blocked a DeAndre Liggins shot off the backboard to set off a fastbreak and a Mitchell layup and, on the ensuing possession, a Mitchell 3-pointer cut the Sioux Falls lead to one at 59-58 with 40 seconds left in the third quarter.
The game was tight until Trey McKinney-Jones' drive for a 82-79 Fort Wayne lead with 1:50 left in the game, and then Sioux Falls fell apart.
The Skyforce was called for traveling, Liggins got his second technical foul and was ejected, and then Tre Kelley got a flagrant 2 foul while battling with Fort Wayne's Sadiel Rojas for a rebound. Kelley was ejected with 1:12 left and Rojas made the two ensuing free throws for an 84-79 lead that put the Mad Ants in charge.
Howard, who will be Fort Wayne's lone representative in Saturday's All-Star Game in New Orleans, had 20 points. Rojas had 15 points and 15 rebounds.
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