The last time a Fort Wayne pro basketball team played a Sioux Falls team in Memorial Coliseum, the year was 1996, the league was the CBA and the Skyforce wound up closing out a league championship in front of an unhappy home crowd.
Consider that history once removed. Or simply removed.
For the second time in a week Saturday night, the Mad Ants refused to let an opponent back into a series, evicting the Skyforce from the D-League semifinals with a 126-118 victory. Led by 25 points from Ron Howard, 24 from Matt Bouldin, 21 from Tony Mitchell and 20 from Sadiel Rojas, the Ants blew out to a 20-5 lead, ran it to 29 at halftime and then withstood a Skyforce rally in the second half to close out the Skyforce in two straight.
The Ants never trailed in shooting 52.8 percent, outrebounding the Skyforce 46-35 and forcing 17 turnovers. Craig Smith led the Skyforce with 20 points.
Sioux Falls opened the second half with a 14-2 run and finished the third with a Henry Walker 3-pointer to cut the lead to 95-80 after three quarters. That margin eventually shrunk to nine on two occasions before Bouldin and Howard made back-to-back buckets -- Bouldin's off an inbounds steal -- to steady the ship.
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