Mad Ants drop mid-week matinee at Delaware

NEWARK, DE – The Delaware 87ers (9-17) pulled out a thrilling 127-120 victory over the visiting Fort Wayne Mad Ants (15-12) on Education Day presented by Delaware Solid Waste Authority. The Sevens won their third Education Day game in a row behind sublime shooting and timely defense. Though Fort Wayne nearly erased an 87ers’ 14-point second-half cushion, Delaware made big shots down the stretch and picked up its first win over the Mad Ants this season.

Here are three takeaways from the 87ers’ second meeting against Fort Wayne this season:

The Sevens shot the ball as well as they have all year

Check out these shooting splits: 62/45/79. That’s what the Sevens shot from the field, three-point land and the free throw line as a team. Delaware scored 127 points on 78 shots, a ridiculous 1.6 points per shot. By contrast, Fort Wayne put up 120 points on 102 shots. The 87ers hit nine three-pointers and got 64 points in the paint. This was as efficient a team shooting performance as you could possibly hope to find and Delaware needed it. Seven 87ers finished the game in double figures, while Christian Wood, Emeka Okafor and Shawn Long combined to shoot 21-32 from the field. That’ll get it done.

 Delaware’s guard play should excite the team

Askia Booker and Demetrius Jackson, both relative newcomers (this was Jackson’s first game with the team), looked right at home at the Bob. Booker had his best shooting performance in a Delaware uniform, finishing with 27 points on 10-14 from the field and a superb 4-5 from distance. The Colorado product also had eight assists and was the only 87er to connect on more than one triple. His backcourt mate Jackson showed why the Sixers made him their newest two-way player, pouring in 16 points on 7-12 shooting in a starting role after just one practice with the 87ers. Head Coach Eugene Burroughs has stressed throughout the season that teams need good guard play in order to win in this league, and Booker and Jackson, along with the ever-reliable James Blackmon Jr. (11 points on 4-7 from the field), give the squad just that.

Turnovers and second-chance points kept Fort Wayne in the game

Yes, there’s a lot of good to take away from this win, but Delaware needs to tighten the screws in certain aspects of the game. For starters, the Sevens committed 25 turnovers, which led to 34 Fort Wayne points. Thirteen of those turnovers came in the second half and seven cough-ups happened in the fourth quarter alone. Additionally, the Mad Ants snagged a whopping 19 offensive rebounds and converted that into 30 second-chance points. Add it all up and more than half of Fort Wayne’s scoring came courtesy of Delaware turnovers and second-chance points. The Sevens won’t always be able to rely on absurd shooting to carry them through games, but if they get some things cleaned up, they’ll make some serious noise down the stretch.

The 87ers are back at home for their next game, a Friday night showdown with the Long Island Nets. It’s Service Appreciation Night presented by Delaware Citizen Corps and the contest is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET.