Smith nets 43, but Mad Ants fall at home

Mad Ants

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The regular season opened Thursday night for the host Fort Wayne Mad Ants and Raptors 905, with the Raptors getting hot early and coming out with a 103-94 win.
Raptors 905 outshot Fort Wayne 43.5 percent to 31.3 percent for Fort Wayne. They also controlled rebounding 59-50 over Fort Wayne.
The game started balanced with Raptors 905 jumping out to a 4-0 lead before Gabe York hit his first triple of the night. Raptors 905 relied on Isaac Bonga early, jumping up 14-10 on his basket with just over 6 minutes to play in the first quarter. Again, Fort Wayne answered with a Russ Smith basket and a free throw to pull back within one point at 14-13. Back-to-back three pointers from Raptors 905 at the 4:11 mark pushed their lead to 22-13. Raptors 905 led 33-22 at the first quarter break.
A York three ended 90 seconds of scoreless basketball to start the second quarter but Obadiah Noel answered back directly on the next Raptors 905 possession with a three-point basket of his own. That sparked a 10-0 Raptors run to push their lead to 18 points with 9:43 left in the second quarter. After York starting the quarter with a basket 90 seconds in, Fort Wayne was held scoreless until the 7:13 mark when Bennie Boatwright connected on a three-point basket. Raptors 905 would lead by as many as 22 in the quarter and take a 60-43 lead into the halftime break.
A Kevon Harris basket with 8:13 left in the third pushed the Raptors lead to 69-45. The game stayed balanced most of the way in the third with Raptors 905 not able to climb away but Fort Wayne not making up much ground despite a big quarter from Russ Smith, who scored 11 of his 43 points in the third quarter. Raptors 905 led 78-62 after three.
Nate Hinton started the fourth quarter with a three pointer but again Raptors 905 had an answer to stop potential Fort Wayne momentum. The start of strong footing for Fort Wayne came on a three from Smith with 8:54 to play, but again the Raptors 905 answered with a three from Aaron Best. Fort Wayne got back within eight with 6:33 to play on a Smith three pointer. Smith continued to will Fort Wayne back into the game, including 20 straight points, getting Fort Wayne as close as four points. Raptors 905 persisted down the stretch and 48.3 seconds left, a Justin Smith bucket pushed the Raptors 905 lead to 100-91 and closed out the game at the foul line.
Smith led all scorers with 43 points, a high for the Mad Ants this season and also a NBA G League Regular Season high mark. Terry Taylor had his 12th double double of the season with 23 points and 11 rebounds.
Raptors 905 was led by 28 points off the bench by Obadiah Noel and Kevon Harris added 20 points and 11 rebounds.
The two teams meet again on Saturday with a 1 p.m. eastern tip in Fort Wayne.

The Mad Ants host the Raptors 905 again on Saturday with tip set for 1 p.m. at the Coliseum.

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