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Hicks’ best game comes in Ants’ victory

January 5, 2019

Stephan Hicks had probably the finest game of his career, totaling a career-best 32 points and 15 rebounds tonight as the Mad Ants defeated the Wisconsin Herd 125-120 at Memorial Coliseum.

It was a good follow-up to perhaps Fort Wayne’s best game of the season : Wednesday’s 110-104 road victory over the Westchester Knicks.

Hicks’ previous career best of 29 points was set Dec. 7, in a 117-111 loss to Long Island. Earlier this season he became No. 3 in the franchise’s scoring list, trailing only Walker Russell and Ron Howard. He is 195 points behind Russell’s 2,083.

Alize Johnson had 19 points and nine rebounds for Central Division-leading Fort Wayne (11-10). Davon Reed had 18 points.

Wisconsin (3-18) was paced by Christian Wood’s 30 points and 18 rebounds.

This game marked only the second time all season that all five Fort Wayne starters scored in double figures; the first time was a 120-118 loss to Memphis on Nov. 21.

Before the game, Ike Anigbogu was recalled by the NBA’s Indiana Pacers to get treatment for right knee soreness and his expected return date was not known. Anigbogu, who had averaged 11.6 points, 10.1 rebounds and 2.21 shot blocks in 14 games this season, had also been battling through a finger injury.

In front of 1,937 fans, the Mad Ants wore digital camouflage uniforms that were auctioned off to benefit Erin’s House, which provides support for children, teens and families who have suffered the death of a loved one.

Fort Wayne opened the game with a 17-7 run, culminating with the Hicks put-back of an errant Johnson 3-pointer with 6:54 remaining in the first quarter. The Mad Ants still led 36-26 at the end of the quarter on a Rob Gray 3-pointer. He made all four of his shots, and all three from beyond the arc, for 12 points in the first quarter.

An alley-oop pass from Edmond Sumner to Hicks put the Mad Ants up 52-39 with 7:05 remaining in the second quarter. They never trailed in the first half, during which Hicks made 9 of 15 shots for 19 points with eight rebounds.

The Herd took its first lead on a James Young 3-pointer that made it 70-69 with 9:16 remaining in the third quarter.

A Reed drive, set up by a Tra-Deon Hollins pass through traffic, gave the Mad Ants a 107-103 lead with 7:10 left in the fourth quarter. That was followed by an Omari Johnson 3-pointer with 6:30 left for a 110-103 lead.

After a timeout, Sumner converted a 3-pointer for a 113-103 Mad Ants lead.

Sumner had 17 points. Omari Johnson had 14. Hollins had six points and 12 assists.

Notes: The Mad Ants presented a check for $2,055 to the Mad Anthonys Children’s Hope House from their jersey auction of “SpongeBob SquarePants” jerseys they donned Dec. 28. ... The Mad Ants play 8 p.m. Saturday at the Iowa Wolves.

jcohn@jg.net

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