Updated: Wednesday, 28 Nov 2012, 11:55 PM EST
Published : Wednesday, 28 Nov 2012, 10:38 PM EST
CLICK ON THE VIDEO TABS FOR WANE'S COVERAGE ALONG WITH EXTENDED INTERVIEWS FROM COACH DUANE TICKNOR AND PLAYERS TONY MITCHELL, RON HOWARD, AND WALKER RUSSELL.
FORT WAYNE, Ind. - The Fort Wayne Mad Ants won their first game of the season -- and of the Duane Ticknor era -- by defeating the Canton Charge 86-75 Wednesday evening at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum behind a strong effort from Walker Russell, Jr. and JaJuan Johnson.
In the first quarter, the Ants jumped put to a 14-9 lead five minutes into the game on a JaJuan Johnson jump shot. Canton answered with a 13-6 run of their own, however, and took a 22-20 lead into the second quarter. Kevin Jones led the Charge with 6 points in the quarter.
Ron Howard was a one man wrecking crew in the second quarter, and he did his best to keep the Ants close to a Charge team hitting on all cylinders. Howard scored 12 points in the quarter, but it was not enough to stop a surging Charge. Their bull of a big man, Kevin Jones, continued his fine play and ended the half with 12 points in leading the Charge to a 46-39 advantage at the half.
The Ants came out of the half with far better energy and went on a quick 10-0 run to take a 49-46 lead just 3 minutes into the half. Walker Russell, Jr. took over this quarter for the Ants, and he exploded for 18 third quarter points to put his team ahead 65-60 heading into the final stanza.
Fort Wayne continued that momentum in the second half and started to pull away when newcomer Tony Mitchell stole a ball from Kyle Gibson and went down and finished with a thunderous dunk to push the lead to seven. From there on out, the Ants defense stiffened behind JaJaun Johnson, Sadiel Rojas, Mike Anderson, and Mitchell. Johnson was a force in the middle for the Ants and ended the game with 7 blocks, and the Ants held the Charge to just 29 second half points on their way to their first win of the season.
For Canton, Kevin Jones had another strong game and led the Charge with 24 points and 11 rebounds, while Jorge Gutierrez chipped in with a double-double of his own -- 10 points and 11 rebounds.
The Ants were led by the outstanding play of Walker Russell, Jr., who led the Ants with 25 points. Ron Howard contributed 20 points, and JaJuan Johnson had his best game of the season with 16 points, 14 rebounds, and 7 blocks.
The Mad Ants play this Friday at the Allen Count War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne against the Iowa Energy at 7:30 PM.
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