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Mad Antics

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Mad Ants, D-Fenders put on D-League show

Two of the top teams in the D-League, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants and Los Angeles D-Fenders, put on a show at Memorial Coliseum on March 18, 2014, at Memorial Coliseum. It pitted the D-Fenders up-tempo offense against the Mad Ants sharpshooters and solid defenders.

Mad Ants win 3-pointer filled thriller

The Los Angeles D-Fenders played their preferred style of basketball. The only times they weren't sprinting at Memorial Coliseum, they were hoisting 47 3-point shots.

But the Mad Ants matched them punch for punch Tuesday night and won 125-121, in a matchup of two of the top three teams in the D-League.

Los Angeles came into the night averaging a whopping 120.7 points per game, second only to league-best Rio Grande Valley's 123.6, but the Mad Ants' fourth-ranked defense held them somewhat in check.

Tony Mitchell led Fort Wayne (28-15) with 26 points. The Mad Ants are the D-League's hottest team, having won 7 of 8 and 11 of 13.

Los Angeles (25-16), which was led by Terrence Williams' 21 points, had its five-game winning streak snapped.

Los Angeles was 21 of 47 (44.7 percent) from 3-point range, after coming in with 34 attempts per game from behind the arc, where they were shooting 37.2 percent.

C.J. Williams was 5 of 12 from 3-point range and totaled 19 points.

The Mad Ants were 7 of 15. They came in shooting 35.6 percent from 3-point range, where they had averaged just under 20 shots per game.

Mitchell was 4 of 6 from beyond the arc.

The Mad Ants had a 9-0 run in the first quarter, capped by a give-and-go play that ended with Sadiel Rojas setting up Ron Howard beneath the basket for a layup, foul and a 13-8 Mad Ants lead.

But the D-Fenders went on to score 26 of the next 40 points, paced primarily by their long-range shooting. They led 34-27 at the end of the first quarter. Brandon Costner had 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including 2 of 3 from 3-point range.

A 13-2 run by the Mad Ants, capped by a Howard jumper from the top of the key, tied the game at 41 with 6:25 remaining in the second quarter.

The Mad Ants took control of the game with a 17-7 run that culminated with a Will Frisby one-handed basket off the glass for a 79-69 lead with 5:10 remaining in the third quarter. As the teams rushed to the other end, Los Angeles' Shawne Williams got tangled up with Rojas and tried to go after him while Rojas was lying on the court. After some pushing and shoving between the teams, Williams, the reigning D-League Performer of the Week, got two technical fouls and was ejected.

Shawne Williams came into the game averaging 19.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Against the Mad Ants, he had 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting, along with eight rebounds, which was the highest in the game when he was tossed.

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Mitchell gave Fort Wayne a 97-87 lead with 10:25 remaining in the game and, from there, the Mad Ants answered every small rally the D-Fenders produced.

After their lead was trimmed to two points, a Mitchell hook shot put Fort Wayne up 122-118 with 50 seconds remaining, but Los Angeles' James Sutherland answered with a 3-pointer from the corner.

A pair of Jamaal Franklin free throws gave Fort Wayne a 124-121 lead with 19 seconds left. Los Angeles' Terrence Williams missed both his free throws for Los Angeles with 9.6 remaining, capping the victory.

Notes: The Mad Ants waived Kyle Randall, who played in 24 games, starting one, and averaged 4.3 points as a rookie out of Central Michigan.

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