Fort Wayne, IN (November 20th) – The Fort Wayne Mad Ants (2-0) celebrated their 10th season home opener with a victory over the Sioux Falls Skyforce (2-1) at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum Sunday night.
Nick Zeisloft helped close out a 130-125 win, providing 11 points off the bench in just the fourth quarter. The former Hoosier finished with 21 points and four 3-pointers.
Fort Wayne’s offense had their way in the first quarter putting up an astonishing 40 points. The Mad Ants took control early. Stephan Hicks set the tone to start the game, hitting his first 3-pointer on the Mad Ants first possession of the game.
The Mad Ants lived by the 3-point ball in the first half going 7-for-16 from the field. They were led by Hicks who scored four times from downtown, finishing with 17 points in the half. As a team, Fort Wayne shot 44 percent from behind the arc.
Alex Poythress made his presence felt in the paint. He went 6-for-8 from the free throw line and had 14 points in the first half. Jordan Loyd provided a spark off the bench early in the game. He provided 15 points, seven of them coming from the free throw line.
Sioux Falls looked to push the ball up the floor, after forcing Fort Wayne into committing 10 turnovers. The Skyforce were led on offense by Stefan Jankovic who provided 12 points with two 3-pointers of his own. The Mad Ants ended the half with a 74-60 lead.
The Skyforce were not going to go away easy in the second half. Sioux Falls battled their way back by getting points in transition. The Skyforce went on a 14-6 run in the middle of the third quarter to take their first lead since the first.
Sioux Falls scored 12 points off turnovers in the third quarter, which guided them on their run.
The game was tied at 92 with 56 seconds left in the quarter, until Skyforce coach Nevada Smith received a technical foul with 56 seconds. Sioux Fall’s Bubu Palo received the teams second technical just seconds later. This jump started what turned into a 7-0 run for the Mad Ants to close out the quarter leading 99-92.
Travis Leslie came up big off the bench to score 9 points for Fort Wayne in the third quarter.
Sioux Fall’s Keith Benson and Briante Weber each put up seven points in the quarter. Weber went on to lead the Skyforce in scoring, recording 22 points.
The Mad Ants continued their run at the start of fourth quarter. Fort Wayne went on an 11-6 run to add some insurance to their lead. Zeisloft caught fire, nailing a 3-pointer and two jump shots to put the team ahead by 12.
Fort Wayne was up by 11 with 1:30 left in the game. Jankovic brought the Skyforce back, leading them on an 11-3 run to cut the deficit to three. Julyan Stone iced the game with two clutch free throws to close out a 130-125 win.
Stone had the teams only double-double consisting of 11 points and 10 rebounds. Loyd finished with 24 points, 14 coming from the free throw line. Leslie had 18 points after scoring 14 in just the second half.
The Mad Ants will play again on Tuesday in Maine against the Red Claws. The game on November 22nd, will tipoff at 7 p.m.