Portland, Maine- The Fort Wayne Mad Ants (20-20) entered the night just one game behind the Maine Red Claws (21-21) in the East Division standings and by the end of the night the two teams found themselves tied for 3rd in the East and 9th overall in the NBADL. The Mad Ants outscored the Maine Red Claws 60-32 over the second and third quarter to leave the Portland Expo Building on Thursday night with the victory, 105-90.
The Red Claws controlled the tip off and jumped out to an early six point lead with Wright and Micah Downs leading the way early, each chipping in six as Maine sprinted out to an 18-12 early lead. Mad Ants Tony Mitchell and Chris Porter scored back to back baskets to cut the lead to 18-17 before the Red Claws went on a 14-3 run led by Josh Selby’s eight to take a 32-20 cushion into the second quarter. Selby started the quarter with two free throws before Fort Wayne, led by Anthony Richardson and Brandon Wallace, went on a 17-4 run to cut the Red Claws’ lead to one. Richardson and Wallace would trade baskets with Selby and Curtis Jerrells before Mitchell buried a three pointer to tie the score at 44 apiece, and after two more Selby free throws gave Maine a slim lead, Howard closed out the quarter with a runner to take a 52-51 Mad Ants lead into the locker room.
Fort Wayne kept their foot on the gas to open the third, opening with a 14-5 run led by Richardson and Howard. Downs scored the five points, but the Red Claws were unable to get their shots going in the quarter. Selby would score six in between six by Howard and five by Mitchell as the Mad Ants closed out with an 11-4 run to take an 80-64 advantage into the final frame. The Red Claws were held to just 25% shooting in the third. The fourth quarter started with a dunk by Celtics Assigned Player Fab Melo and a Selby layup, but Fort Wayne would not let the Red Claws back into the contest, extending their lead to 18 on Chris Porter’s strong post play. Selby and Wright linked up to bring Maine back to within 13 points, but Howard and Wallace closed out the game strong for the Mad Ants, who handed Maine their season high third consecutive home loss.
Leading Fort Wayne to the victory was Howard, with 26 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. The Mad Ants also got significant contributions from Mitchell (22 points, nine rebounds), Richardson (18), Wallace (17 points, 11 rebounds) and Porter (11).
The Red Claws got a game high 31 points from Selby. Wright added 21 points to his team-record 20 rebounds. Rounding out the Red Claws in double figures was Downs, who contributed a double-double (18 points, 11 rebounds). Curtis Jerrells dished out five assists.
The Red Claws will be on the road on Saturday when they take on the Austin Toros at 8:30 PM for the first of a five-game road trip. The Mad Ants travel to Springfield to take on the Armor tomorrow night at 7 PM for the first of a two-game weekend set at Springfield.
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