GRAND RAPIDS – The Fort Wayne Mad Ants (23-14) held off the Grand Rapids Drive (20-19) on Wednesday night, winning by a 136-105 final, winning their second consecutive game after losing five in a row prior to that. The Drive have the opposite trajectory, as they now have dropped two in a row after winning eight of nine previously.
Jordan Loyd was the main engine throughout the game for Fort Wayne, scoring 30 points with seven rebounds and 11 assists. Travis Leslie added 29 points as well and Jarrod Ulthoff manned the middle for 20 points and nine rebounds. Off the bench, Nick Zeisloft hit 5-of-6 three-pointers to score 20 points in just 22 minutes. The Mad Ants had just seven players play double-digit minutes, but all but one of them scored in double figures.
Grand Rapids got 27 points from Jordan Crawford, 18 points, 10 rebounds and six assists from Ray McCallum. Henry Ellenson, playing on assignment from the Detroit Pistons, fought off some struggles with his shot to post 18 points and nine rebounds.
The Mad Ants stretched their lead to double digits early in the second quarter and never relinquished it, as they got out to a strong start outscoring the Drive 38-32 in the first quarter. The lead was under 15 until the fourth quarter, but Fort Wayne remained fully in control for the vast majority of the game.
They especially dominated the fourth quarter, outscoring the Drive 136-105 in the final frame. The Drive missed Kevin Murphy, who was ejected in the second quarter.
Grand Rapids has been plagued by poor shooting from three-point range lately, and this game was no different. The Drive connected on just 6-of-26 attempts, atypical of what was one of the league’s most prolific teams from deep for much of the season. The Mad Ants, meanwhile, shot 48 percent from three-point range and 54 percent overall. The Drive even failed to capitalize on their free-throw attempts, making 61 percent at the line.
Fort Wayne returns home for the next tilt against Westchester on Friday, March 3. The Drive will look to get back in the win column and keep their playoff aspirations alive against the Windy City Bulls on the road the same day.