Fort Wayne Mad Ants Lose At Home in Overtime Thriller
The Fort Wayne Mad Ants lost at home to their division rival Sioux Falls Skyforce Sunday night by a score of 122-118. Both teams played well overall, with at least four players from each team scoring in the double digits. However, the Skyforce shot 60 percent from the field as a team, opposed to the Mad Ants’ shooting 46 percent. Also, the Skyforce were more accurate with fewer shots. The Mad Ants had 95 attempts against the Skyforce’s 75 attempts. Andre Emmett had a phenomenal game for the Mad Ants. He scored a season-high 37 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. C.J. Fair had a career-best 24 points, while Trey McKinney-Jones knocked the rust off to score a season-high 19.
As for the Skyforce, forward Scotty Hopson and guard Andre Dawkins lead their team in scoring with 35 points and 34 points respectively. Forward Khem Birch dominated the boards with 19 rebounds, more than any other player on either team. Andre Emmett had the second most rebounds with 11.
The first half was less about defense and more about run-and-gun offense. Andre Dawkins got off to a quick start for the Skyforce, scoring 13 points in the first quarter. Scotty Hopson made a few plays of his own in the post, as well as open dunks. Andre Emmett displayed impressive versatility in this game, making two three-pointers and dishing out 6 assists. With him aggressively driving to the paint as usual and still collecting baskets it opened up opportunities for Fair and McKinney-Jones. Fair got the start because Ramon Harris’ injury has limited his minutes, so Fair seemed intent on proving he deserved the added time on the court. He made two three-pointers, going 4 for 5 from the free throw line, and recorded 5 rebounds. For a while, it felt as though the Mad Ants would run away with this one, because the chemistry was great and Emmett was having his way with the Skyforce defenders.
The second half, particularly the third quarter, was a whole new game for the Skyforce. The pace slowed down significantly and many of their half-court set plays led to three-pointers or lightly contested mid-range jumpers. They chipped away at the deficit the entire third quarter until both teams were neck and neck. Emmett and the Mad Ants had to change gears, because they no longer had a comfortable lead.
The fourth quarter was an offensive shoot-out between Emmett and Dawkins. In the game, Dawkins made 7 threes, and 2 of them were near the end. Emmett made lay-up after lay-up, and Fair sank a clutch three-pointer. Then Emmett made a clutch basket that sent the game into overtime.
Dawkins and Hopson of the Skyforce took over the overtime period. The Mad Ants struggled to make baskets, and Emmett was being heavily cloaked by the defense. In the final seconds, Emmett drove into the paint and had his shot blocked, which effectively settled the game.
The Fort Wayne Mad Ants are atop the Central Division and in second place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 22-16. The Sioux Falls Skyforce are right behind the Mad Ants in the division and fourth place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 20-17.
By Joshua Hamer