Mad Ants fall despite Gray’s triple-double

Mad Ants

The Windy City Bulls, presented by BMO Harris Bank, the NBA G League affiliate of the Chicago Bulls, collected their 21st win of the season in a 119-112 victory over the Fort Wayne Mad Ants on Friday night at Sears Centre Arena.

Five Bulls scored in double figures with three players tallying double-doubles. Brandon Sampson tallied a team-high 24 points and 10 rebounds, while Kaiser Gates poster 23 points and 11 rebounds of his own. Walt Lemon Jr. collected his first career triple-double and the third in franchise history tallying 21 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists. JaKarr Sampson totaled 15 points and nine rebounds, and Ferrakohn Hall added 13 points in a reserve role. 


Fort Wayne was shorthanded as they were without the services of Two-Way player Davon Reed and Indiana Pacers assignee, Alize Johnson. Omari Johnson led the way with 28 points on 10-of-19 shooting and Ike Nwamu registered 17 points and six assists while logging a game-high 39 minutes. Stephan Hicks posted a stat line of 17 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals, and Travin Thibodeaux tallied 15 points, seven rebounds and nine assists. Rob Gray recorded a triple-double of his own and totaled 14 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists and Jovan Mooring pitched in with 13 points off the bench.


For the second consecutive game, Windy City’s offense was in rhythm to start the contest as they made their first three shots and scored 16 points in the opening 5:48. Kaiser Gates serves as the catalyst, scoring 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting, which led all players. After leading by four upon the first media timeout, the Bulls scored eight of the next 10 points and grabbed an early double-digit lead. Windy City led by as many as 11 in the period while collectively shooting 54 percent. The Mad Ants cut into the lead by scoring six of the final nine points in the frame, but the Bulls led 33-26 at the end of the opening 12 minutes. 


Windy City’s offensive onslaught picked up steam to start the second quarter as they tallied the first 10 points of the stanza, forcing a quick Mad Ants timeout with 9:58 remaining in the half. The Bulls lead swelled to 17, which was the largest of the night for either team. However, Fort Wayne responded with a run of their own and sliced the lead to four on the heels of a 16-3 run.  Windy City managed to stabilize themselves and re-upped their lead to 13 with just over four minutes to play. Both teams scored 30 points in the quarter, but the Bulls outscored the Mad Ants by six and led 69-56 at the intermission. 


The Mad Ants collected the first points of the second half on a three-pointer, which pulled them  within 10. Windy City led by as many as 14 points in the quarter, but with under three minutes remaining in the period, Fort Wayne cut six points of the lead and made it an 86-78 game. The Bulls pushed their advantage over the double-digit threshold once more as they closed the quarter by scoring eight of the final 12 points in the period. Windy City limited the Mad Ants to 36 percent shooting in the quarter and led 94-82 heading into the final 12 minutes.


Fort Wayne opened the final quarter by scoring 12 of the first 14 points to make it one possession game. Despite the run, they were unable to take the lead as Lemon Jr. connected on a driving lay in, followed by back-to-back buckets by CJ Fair and Brandon Sampson. The mini 6-0 spurt pushed the Bulls lead to eight, which they didn’t relinquish for the remainder of the contest. Windy City’s lead was cut to five with 4:11 left in the contest, but that is as close as Fort Wayne would get. The Bulls led wire-to-wire for the final three quarters and won 119-112.

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