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No Bull, Mad Ants put on a show

There were lots of highlights from the Mad Ants game against the Sioux Falls Skyforce, not the least of which were provided by Chicago Bulls mascot Benny. At Memorial Coliseum, Feb. 22, 2014.

Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Mad Ants’ Tony Mitchell takes a charge by Skyforce’s Anthony Mason Jr. in the second quarter of Saturday’s game at the Coliseum.

Mad Ants rain 3s, run win streak to 4

– The Mad Ants came into Saturday night seven games above .500 for the first time in the franchise’s seven-year history.

Make it eight.

The Mad Ants used 13 3-pointers to defeat the Sioux Falls Skyforce 103-96 at Memorial Coliseum for their fourth straight victory 15th in their last 21 games.

Fort Wayne (21-13) attempted a season-high 33 3-pointers as they remained a half game behind Canton for first place in the East Division.

“We had a lot of fun and we got all those 3-pointers because we shared the ball,” said Sadiel Rojas, who had 23 points – he was 5 of 10 from 3-point range – and had 14 rebounds. “And it was fun getting all those shots.”

Tony Mitchell also had 23 points with 12 rebounds. He was 8 of 18 from the field, 2 of 6 from 3-point range. Teammate Trey McKinney-Jones had 14 points. Brian Butch had 11, going 3 of 6 from beyond the arc. Matt Bouldin had 10 points.

“All of us are just working together and sharing the ball,” Rojas said, “and that’s why we’re winning.”

Sioux Falls (20-14), which has lost 4 of 5, was led by Justin Hamilton’s 20 points and nine rebounds.

Henry Walker and Anthony Mason scored 18 apiece, as the Skyforce lost its third straight against Fort Wayne.

“Recently, we’ve been shooting a lot more 3s,” Fort Wayne coach Conner Henry said. “Since Tony has arrived, as well as now Butch, Trey and Matt, we can do that. And Sadiel was huge tonight from 3-point range. When we run our offense and we get it through hands, and we have good spacing, that’s a good shot for us. Sometimes you miss a few in a row. But as long as they’re good looks and we’re grinding it out, I’m OK with it.”

Starting with a Rojas 3-pointer with 3:59 remaining in the first quarter, the Mad Ants went on a 15-6 run to take a 24-17 lead. They were 4 of 9 on 3-pointers in the first quarter, when Rojas was 3 for 4 to get Fort Wayne the seven-point lead.

The Skyforce fought back and took a three-point lead, but Mitchell drove hard to the basket, made a layup and drew a foul to tie it at 35 with 5:55 remaining in the second quarter.

Sioux Falls went up 63-56 on two Mason free throws with 6:42 remaining in the third quarter. But the Mad Ants fought back, tying it at 68 on a Chris Porter dunk three minutes later.

A string of three consecutive 3-pointers by Butch, Bouldin and Butch again put the Mad Ants in control at 89-81. And a thunderous Mitchell dunk cemented it at 97-90 with 1:19 remaining.

Notes: Instead of their usual home yellow jerseys, the Mad Ants donned white to raise awareness for the Indiana Organ Procurement Organization. … Chicago Bulls mascot Benny performed at the game.

jcohn@jg.net

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