Fort Wayne (incnow.tv)- The Santa Cruz Warriors took the first game of the best of three series with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants 124-118 this evening at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne. Jeremy Tyler proved to be too much in the paint, as he scored 34 points and 22 in the second half to help secure the win for the Warriors and negate yet another 40 point performance from Mad Ants’ scoring dynamo Tony Mitchell.
Both teams came out firing on all cylinders on offense and gave the fans quite a show in the first quarter. Both teams combined for 73 first quarter points, with the Warriors taking a three-point lead into the second quarter off of Travis Leslie’s eight points. The second quarter saw Santa Cruz slowly but steadily increase their lead, and the visiting team stretched it to as much as ten points on a Leslie jump shot. They held steady with that lead and took a nine-point lead into the half.
The Ants needed to come out strong in the second half, but it was Santa Cruz that came out hot, and they pushed their lead to as much as 17 on a 12-4 run in the first four minute of the quarter. The Ants, however, found their spark, when Ron Howard entered the game. He helped start a 25-9 run that got the Ants within one point at the end of the third, and Tony Mitchell poured in fifteen points in the quarter to help his fellow All Star teammate pull the team close.
The fourth quarter was a treat for the fans, as each team made play after play and the lead changed hands often. The one player who seemed to make every play necessary down the stretch was Tyler. His size, strength, and footwork game the Mad Ant big men fits all night, and the Santa Cruz bench wisely called his number on almost every offensive set. Tyler scored 21 points in the fourth quarter, and the Mad Ants were not ever able to get over the hump due to his fine play.
Besides Tyler’s 34 points, Stefhon Hannah scored 23 points, Cameron Jones contributed 15 points, Darington Hobson added 13 points, and Travis Leslie had 12.
Ron Howard scored 22 points in his return to compliment Mitchell’s 40, Anthony Harris added 13, and Anthony Richardson tallied 10 in the loss.
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