FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Mad Ants, sponsored by Lutheran Health Network, fell to the Westchester Knicks 106-99 at Allen Co. War Memorial Coliseum behind the dominant performance of Walter Lemon Jr. off the bench.
Heading into their first game of the weekend doubleheader and the second of three home games in four days, the Mad Ants jumped out to a quick start over the visiting Knicks before settling into a 24-24 tie at the end of the opening quarter. Stepping into a starting role, Xavier Thames helped lead the Mad Ants through the first, recording 7 quick points at the end of the first twelve minutes. Improved shooting from the first quarter took the Mad Ants ahead of Westchester as they headed into the locker room up 53-50. Walter Lemon Jr. proved strong off the bench, registering 11 points in the first half with Thames following close with ten of his own.
The second half brought a close contest with multiple lead changes, until the Mad Ants were able to grasp a hold of the advantage in the final four minutes of the third quarter. Thames remained a consistent threat for the Mad Ants early in the second half, but Rakeem Christmas’ double-double, 16 points and 11 rebounds, contributed to the 75-71 score after three. Their lead would be short lived through the fourth quarter when Jimmer Fredette tied the score at the 8:56 mark; Westchester would continue to hold the lead the remainder of regulation, ending the game for the Mad Ants with a 106-99 loss. Lemon led all scorers with 22 points and 7 rebounds, while Christmas finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Thames rounded out the night with 15 points of his own.
Leading the way for the Knicks, Fredette, in return from his 10-day contract with the New York Knicks, led with 21 points. Jordan Bachynski followed his teammate with 17 points.
Fort Wayne falls to 18-23 on the season, while Westchester advance to 24-18.
The Mad Ants complete their weekend doubleheader Saturday, March 12th as they host the Sioux Falls Skyforce at 7:30 p.m. ET.