Mad Ants lose second straight to Maine Red Claws

PORTLAND, MAINE — The Maine Red Claws, got balanced scoring from three different players to cruise past the Fort Wayne Mad Ants Sunday afternoon, 111-103. It was a match-up of first-place teams at the Portland Expo. Maine has now won five straight games.

Marcus Georges-Hunt led Maine with 30 points. Demetrius Jackson, on assignment from the Boston Celtics, added 26 points, while Jalen Jones scored 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for his 10thdouble-double of the season. Jones and Georges-Hunt combined to go 21-21 from the free throw line.

In the 1st quarter, the Red Claws (15-7) struggled shooting the ball early on, while the Mad Ants (13-7) jumped out to an early 10-4 lead after a pair of three pointers from Stephan Hicks. After a mid-quarter surge from Maine, they closed the gap to 2 points (20-18) with 3:00 minutes left in the quarter. Fort Wayne closed the quarter on a 10-9 run to hold a 30-27 lead. Hicks and Alex Poythress led the Mad Ants scoring with 8 points apiece, while Jalen Jones led the Red Claws with 8 points.

Opening the 2nd quarter Maine tied the game at 33-33 quickly after 4 points from Jalen Jones. Halfway through the quarter Maine went on a 9-5 run to take their first lead (42-38) since the first basket of the game fueled by Marcus Georges-Hunt’s 7-point run. The Red Claws closed the quarter strong clinging to a 54-47 halftime lead. Georges-Hunt led all scorers in the first half with 17 points, while Jalen Jones had 14. Alex Poythress led the Mad Ants with 13 points.

On to the 3rd quarter where Maine didn’t score until the 9:12 mark, on a free throw from Dallas Lauderdale to lead 55-50. Shortly after Maine started to get hot, as they hit back-to-back three pointers from Marcus Georges-Hunt and Coron Williams, to take their largest lead of the game 63-51. Maine ended the quarter with their largest lead of the ball game 79-64, led by Marcus Georges Hunt’s 22 game high 22 points.

In the 4th and final quarter Demetrius Jackson opened up with a big three pointer to push the lead to 16 points (82-66), followed up with another three pointer from Malcolm Miller, which pushed the lead to 19 points (85-66). Fort Wayne responded quickly going on their own 7-point run, closing the gap to 12 points (85-73). The Red Claws quieted the run by pushing the lead back to 16 (92-76) with 5:35 left to play in the game. Maine thwarted a late comeback effort from Fort Wayne, by holding on to win 111-103.

Maine was led by Marcus Georges-Hunt who topped all scorers with 30 points on 9/19 shooting, while going 11/11 from the free throw line. Demetrius Jackson, on assignment from the Boston Celtics poured in 26 points, shooting 9/15 from the field and 7/8 from the charity stripe. Jalen Jones had a double-double for Maine, posting 25 points and 10 rebounds. Leading the Fort Wayne Mad Ants was Jordan Loyd off the bench with 21 points on 7/12 shooting and 6/7 from the free throw line. Stephan Hicks finished with 19 points after 8 1st quarter points. Trey McKinney-Jones who fouled out in the 4th quarter, finished with 18 points.

The Red Claws were 37-80 (46.3 percent) for the game from the floor, while shooting just 8-28 (28.6 percent) from 3 point land. Maine finished with an impressive 29-33 (87.9 percent) from the free throw line. Fort Wayne was 37-87 (42.5 percent) from the floor, going 13-37 (35.1 percent) from downtown and 16-19 (84.2 percent) from the free throw line.