The Fort Wayne Mad Ants are inching ever closer to the NBA Development League playoffs.
The Ants beat Grand Rapids 126-119 on Friday at Memorial Coliseum, improving to 28-19 with three games left. They play at Grand Rapids at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Fort Wayne's fate rests on its own record, the battle between Maine (28-18) and Delaware (25-21) for the Atlantic Division title and the race with Canton (29-18) for the third and fourth playoff spots. The Mad Ants hold the tiebreaker with Delaware but not with Maine. Grand Rapids (22-24) was eliminated from the playoffs with the loss Friday.
Rookie forward Alex Poythress scored 30 points with eight rebounds and the Mad Ants received double-double performances from Tyler Hansbrough (28 points, 11 rebounds) and Trey McKinney-Jones (17 points, 10 rebounds).
Rookie guard Jordan Loyd scored 21 points, hitting 12-of-12 free throws (including all 11 in the fourth quarter). Travis Leslie added 14 points.
Grand Rapids' Kevin Murphy scored 32 points, Lorenzo Brown 28 points and Ray McCallum 23 points with seven assists. Former Mad Ants guard Ramon Harris scored 15 points.
Poythress hit a number of big shots down the stretch.
“We've got some good pieces,” Hansbrough said earlier this week. “AP (Poythress) is great. I think he's done a great job. I think he'll get a shot in the NBA.”
Hansbrough, who recorded his sixth double-double in 11 games since joining the team, said he the playoff push has helped him fit into the team well.
“Anytime you're playing for something, it's always better, especially this time of the year,” Hansbrough said.