Glenn Robinson III unable to help Mad Ants to win
Fort Wayne-native James Blackmon Jr. sank a pair of free throws with 13.7 seconds left to ruin a big day for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Blackmon’s 15 points helped the Wisconsin Herd defeated the Mad Ants 108-99 before a Memorial Coliseum schoolday crowd of 4,896.
The loss dropped the Mad Ants’ G League Central Division lead over Wisconsin to two games. Fort Wayne had a 16-point lead during the first quarter but lost the momentum the remainder of the game, continually missing close shots while the Herd dominated inside.
“At halftime, coach brought me and told me to be more aggressive so in the third quarter I came out and tried to look for my shot more,” said Blackmon, a former Bishop Luers and Indiana University player. He was recently traded to Wisconsin.
“I feel like this is a better fit for me to get me to where I want to go,” he said. “We have all the tools to win. I’m really buying into what the team wants, and it’s not a one-person game, it’s all five and we just need to stick together. I’m adjusting to the pro game, the coaching, and I feel like this spot is really good for me and will get me to where I want to go.”
The loss was particularly disappointing for the Mad Ants who have been playing so well of late, coming off winning three road games. The Mad Ants also got Glenn Robinson III and Ike Anigbogu from the Indiana Pacers before the game. Robinson, who was playing his first game all season after undergoing ankle surgery, finished with 12 points and Anigbogu with 10. Robinson made 5 of 14 shots.
“It felt great to get out there and get a couple of minutes in, just come down here and not to look to score, but just get reps in and get my rhythm in,” said Robinson, the 2017 NBA Slam Dunk Champion. “Two months ago I was laying in my bed and couldn’t move so it felt great to get onto the court.
“Throughout my rehab, one thing I did lose was my jump shot. I wasn’t thinking about it and struggled a little bit early with a couple of my shots, but in the second half to see a couple of those fall in felt great.”
He headed back to Indianapolis immediately after the game to join the Pacers on their flight to Charlotte. It’s possible Robinson may come back to Fort Wayne for Saturday’s home game against Long Island. At 13-5, the Mad Ants have the league’s best home record.
“I don’t think we got any 50-50 balls, they came up with them,” Mad Ants coach Steve Gansey said. “They had a lot of plays that broke down that they got buckets off of. We didn’t attack the basket as much as I’d like to. Down the stretch, we turned the ball over and we didn’t shrink the floor defensively.”
As usual, Walt Lemon Jr. led the Mad Ants with 22 points, and Ben Moore scored 17 with Jarrod Uthoff scoring 14 and DeQuan Jones 13. The problem was at the defensive end where Joel Bolomboy led Wisconsin with 24 points, JeQuad Lewis scored 18 and Cliff Alexander 16. Wisconsin shot much better in the second half.
“They got into a little bit more of a rhythm with their guys,” Gansey said. “I felt we let up in the second quarter, and then obviously the third and in the fourth we didn’t have the defensive presence we usually like to have.”