The Canton Charge defeated the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, 97-81, at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Indiana on Wednesday night. The victory was the Charge’s fourth-straight and put them over .500 on the season at 6-5, while the Mad Ants dropped to 3-8. Canton now currently holds a 2-1 edge in the season series, as tonight was their first-ever win in Fort Wayne.
Canton came out in attack mode, slashing to the basket and forcing Fort Wayne to commit fouls and get into the penalty early. The Charge hit 12-of-15 first quarter free throws en route to a 23-22 advantage. Canton built a lead of as many as seven early in the second quarter, but Fort Wayne assembled an 18-5 run over a span of 5:44 of game time to take a 40-34 lead. The Charge bounced back with a 14-8 run of their own by converting 7-of-7 attempts from the floor to close the half and tie the game, 48-48.
The game’s turning point came in the third period when Canton went on a 21-4 run, during which Fort Wayne committed five turnovers and missed 10-straight shots at one point. The Mad Ants were just 30% from the floor overall in the third and were outscored 27-17. That cushion was all Canton would need to take control the rest of the game. After shooting 49% on 21-of-43 attempts from the field in the first half, Fort Wayne was contained to 34% on 15-of-44 in the second.
Jon Leuer continued his stellar play with his fifth-straight game in which he notched a double-double, scoring a game-high 20 points with 14 rebounds, one steal and one block in 44 minutes. Arinze Onuaku scored 19 points with nine rebounds and a steal in 23 minutes. Kyle Gibson added 19 points and a block in 32 minutes. Jorge Gutierrez contributed 10 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals in 38 minutes. The Charge finished 23-of-27 for 85% from the free-throw line.
JaJuan Johnson had a team-high 17 points with four rebounds, two steals and a block in 32 minutes. Kim English scored 15 points with five rebounds, six assists and a block in 33 minutes. Tony Mitchell supplied 10 points, three rebounds and four blocks in 21 minutes off the bench. Fort Wayne surrendered a Charge-opponent season high 22 turnovers that resulted in 24 points. The Mad Ants became the first team this season to outrebound Canton, grabbing 48 as a team to the Charge’s 47.
The Charge will next head to the Lone Star State for their sole matchup of the season with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers this Friday, December 21st at 8:00 p.m. Canton’s next home game will be on December 26th at 7:00 p.m. at the Memorial Civic Center, where tickets between the baskets will go for $5 in honor of the Charge going for their 5th-straight home win. For more information on the deal and ticket availability, head to www.CantonCharge.com.