FORT WAYNE, Ind. – A fourth quarter lead disappeared Friday night as the Springfield Armor (20-27), presented by MGM Springfield, fell victim to a late rally in a 115-104 loss to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (30-16) inside Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.
The Mad Ants rode the play of Trey McKinney-Jones and Tony Mitchell through the first quarter as the duo combined for 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting to help Fort Wayne build a 26-20 edge. Mitchell accounted for five of the Mad Ants’ final seven points of the frame.
Two minutes into the second and the Armor stared at a 10-point deficit, but a 16-7 run over the next six minutes pulled Springfield back within just one. Larry Anderson led the charge with 12 points in the second stanza to give the Long Beach State product 17 before the break. Although the Armor drew within one point several times, the visitors were never able to regain the lead prior to halftime, trailing 54-50 entering the locker room.
The Armor continued to mount their rally, tying the game at 60 just over three minutes into the second half and eventually took the lead following one of four three-pointers from Anderson, 65-64. Springfield retained that edge heading into the final frame as the Armor took an 82-80 lead into the last 12 minutes.
A 19-6 run by the Mad Ants over the first four minutes of the fourth pushed Fort Wayne to a 99-88 lead with eight minutes to go. The Armor cut the deficit down to single digits several times, but were unable to draw any closer than five points as the Mad Ants salted away the 115-104 victory.
Anderson finished the night with a career-high 29 points which included a 4-of-6 effort from beyond the arc, but it was Adonis Thomas that led all scorers with 30 points. Springfield managed to get to the free throw line just 15 times (10-of-15), while the Mad Ants made 26 shots from the charity stripe.
Five players reached double figures for Fort Wayne, led by Mitchell’s 26 points, while Jamaal Franklin added 24, going 4-for-4 from long range.
The Armor will finish their back-to-back in Fort Wayne Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.