LEMON, ANTS HOLD OFF DRIVE
FORT WAYNE - In last night's game, Walter Lemon Jr. scored 30 points to spur the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (12-10) as they overcame a six-point deficit entering the fourth quarter to defeat the Grand Rapids Drive (11-12) on Saturday night. 118-117 was the final score as the Mad Ants snapped their four-game losing streak.
Fort Wayne took a six-point lead with a Lemon jumper with just over a minute left to play. The Drive scored five consecutive points in the next 40 seconds and got a stop to set up a potential game-winning basket, but KJ McDaniels was unable to convert.
In addition to Lemon's 30 points, Stephan Hicks and DeQuan Jones scored 20 points each for Fort Wayne. Ben Moore scored 16 points with eight rebounds off the bench and led all players with a +16 rating in 26 minutes.
The Drive had no shortage of starring performances in their loss, either. Landry Nnoko scored a season-high 27 points with seven rebounds and Speedy Smith became the first Drive player this season (and third in franchise history) to record a triple-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds and a franchise-record 17 assists. Smith nearly doubled the Drive's total assists as a team in their last game against Maine, where they had nine. Marcus Thornton also scored 21 points off the bench and McDaniels had 18.
Neither team ever managed a double-digit lead as they traded blows across the quarters. There were 14 lead changes and six ties throughout the game. The Ants led by one at halftime, but the Drive outscored them by seven in the third before giving the lead back up in the fourth quarter.
Both teams were bolstered by efficient offensive performances. The Drive shot a blistering 55 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range, the field goal percentage representing a new season high. The Mad Ants were no slouches themselves, shooting 50 percent on field goals. They shot a comparatively weak 32 percent from three, but managed to hoist 12 more field goal attempts than the Drive and turning the ball over four fewer times.
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