Mad Ants come up short in series finale Fort Wayne’s season ends with loss to Maine

The Fort Wayne Mad Ants’ final push came up short, and the season came to an end in their Game 3 playoff showdown with Maine.

The Maine Red Claws beat the Mad Ants 124-119 on Wednesday in the Portland Expo Building to win the best-of-three NBA Development League Eastern Conference semifinals. Maine advances to play Raptors 905 in the Eastern Conference finals.

The Ants led 100-92 with 9:01 left in the fourth quarter, but Maine used a 20-6 run to seize control and then held off a furious Mad Ants’ push toward the end.

Fort Wayne cut the lead to 116-115 with 45 seconds left after a great defensive stop by Mad Ants forward Georges Niang against Jordan Mickey that led to a Trey McKinney-Jones three-pointer. McKinney-Jones drained the three after a no-look pass from Travis Leslie.

After Abdel Nader drove for a dunk to push the Maine lead to 118-115 with 28.2 seconds left, McKinney-Jones had a chance to trim the deficit again to one but his driving layup just rolled off the rim. Maine’s Mickey hit two free throws to make it 120-115 with 19 seconds left.

Leslie then hit a deep three pointer to cut the lead to 120-118 with 15.2 seconds left. Nader and Guerschon Yabusele hit free throws to hold off the Mad Ants.

McKinney-Jones led Fort Wayne with 30 points and four steals. Leslie scored 24 points with five rebounds and three steals. Tyler Hansbrough scored 19 points with 11 rebounds and three steals. Niang scored 17 points with seven assists and Stephan Hicks scored 15 points with five rebounds and four assists.

Maine, which won its first D-League playoff series, was led by Jalen Jones with 30 points and seven rebounds. Nader scored 26 points with eight rebounds and eight assists. Yabusele scored 26 points with nine rebounds and Mickey scored 22 points with 14 rebounds. Former Notre Dame standout Demetrius Jackson was forced to sit much of the game with an ankle injury.