INDIANAPOLIS – Fort Wayne and Maine completed their weekday afternoon series Thursday with the Celtics earning a 138-126 win to split the pair of games.
Maine opened up a 12 point lead in the first quarter on the strength of 5-of-5 shooting from Deonte Burton while Denzel Valentine tallied seven first quarter rebounds. Fort Wayne fought back on the hand of Justin Anderson, who hit three triples in the quarter. The Mad Ants ended the quarter on a DJ Johnson buzzer beating layup off a Walt Lemon Jr. drive and assist. Maine led 30-27 after one.
Sam Hauser converted two early second quarter three pointers to push Maine’s lead back out, but it was countered by an Andrew Rowsey three pointer. Hauser’s third triple of the game came with 9:38 to play in the quarter and he followed it up with another basket at 9:21 to give Maine a 43-35 lead; Hauser scored 11 points in the first three minutes of the quarter after not scoring in the first. Fort Wayne took just their second lead of the game with 5:04 left in the half on a Gabe York three pointer but Maine would lead at halftime 69-66.
An 8-0 run late in the third quarter started to give Maine separation again; they would take their biggest lead to that point with 2:41 to play on a Valentine three pointer to lead 97-83. The Celtics took a 101-94 lead into the fourth quarter.
The two teams traded blows throughout the first half of the fourth quarter with Fort Wayne pulling within single digits with 6:02 to play as Nate Hinton converted an and-one opportunity to make it 117-110 in favor of the Celtics. A Valentine three pointer with 2:24 to play would push Maine’s lead back to double digits at 129-118.
For Fort Wayne, Gabe York and Will Vorhees both established career high scoring games. York put in 45, while hitting six three pointers and Vorhees scored 13 on 6-of-9 shooting. Nate Hinton added a double double of 16 points and 13 rebounds.
Sam Hauser led the Celtics with 29 points, hitting seven three pointers of his own while Denzel Valentine added a 23 point, 18 rebound double double and Bruno Fernando added 22 points and 10 rebounds for Maine.