Poythress, Leslie lead Mad Ants over Raptors 905

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Mad Ants (19-10) faced a tough challenge Tuesday night as they defeated Central Division Leader Raptors 905 (22-9) 105-92.

Indiana Pacers assignee Georges Niang scored the Mad Ants’ first bucket of the game, converting on his first 3-point attempt. Niang took control of the offense early in the first; he scored nine points in the quarter on 4 of 8 shooting.

Neither team built a large lead in the first quarter. Fort Wayne clung to a small advantage for most of the quarter until Raptors 905 took their first lead of the game with 2 and a half minutes left in the quarter, courtesy of a Delon Wright dunk. The Mad Ants took the lead back quickly, as they ended the first leading 21-19.

The Mad Ants looked to push the ball in transition to start the second. Solid defense by Fort Wayne allowed the team to run the fast break well. A block from Jarrod Uthoff led to a Ben Bentil layup, and a key stop led to a 3-pointer by Nick Zeisloft.

The Coliseum erupted as the Mad Ants went on a 10-0 run midway through the second quarter. Two turnovers by Raptors 905 resulted in Dunk Contest nominee Alex Poythress putting on a show with two breakaway slams. Not to be outdone, Julyan Stone drove past his defender and rose-up for the powerful one-handed dunk.

Raptors 905’s Brady Heslip kept his team within striking distance. In the second quarter alone, Heslip scored nine points. He finished with 15 for the half.

Fort Wayne extended its lead to nine going into halftime. They capitalized on the 905’s mistakes, scoring 15 points off eight turnovers in the first half. Niang led the team in scoring with nine points. Bentil contributed eight points to the cause coming off the bench.

The Mad Ants limited Raptors 905 from cutting into their deficit during the third quarter. Just as the lead was cut to six points, Fort Wayne went on a 10-1 run to help pad their lead. The Mad Ants spread the ball on offense, Travis Leslie scored nine points in the quarter, followed by Poythress scoring six, and Bentil scoring five.

Raptors 905 trailed by 13 at the start of the fourth. They tried to make a comeback attempt early in the quarter, going on an 8-0 run. Fort Wayne fought hard to increase their lead by drawing fouls and earning points at the free throw line.

Fort Wayne’s lead was cut to six halfway through the fourth, but the Mad Ants held off the comeback attempt with help from back to back 3-pointers from Uthoff. Poythress put the exclamation point on a 105-92 win with another dunk.

Poythress led in scoring with 20 points, Leslie was not far behind finishing with 18 points and eight rebounds, Bentil and Uthoff tallied 15 points each off the bench. Stone recorded a double-double of 10 points and 10 assists.

Raptors 905 was led in scoring by Heslip who finished with 20 points, four buckets coming from behind the 3-point line. Edy Tavares contributed 12 points, and Antwaine Wiggins scored 11 points.

The Mad Ants will look to increase their winning streak to three when they face the Delaware 87ers on February 12th. Tip-off will take place at 7:00 p.m.