Brian Bowen II provided the necessary points from the free-throw line. But Amida Brimah’s block of an Alize Johnson baseline drive may have been the biggest key for the Mad Ants on Sunday, as they grabbed a 122-117 double-overtime victory over Raptors 905 at HP Field House in Orlando, Florida.
“As a guy told me when I was coaching in college: ‘That's why we hired him,’” Mad Ants coach Tom Hankins said, chuckling about his defensive-minded center. “It was impressive.”
Bowen made a pair of free throws for a 119-117 Fort Wayne lead with 56.8 seconds remaining in the second overtime. Brimah’s block of Johnson, a former Mad Ants star, forced a shot-clock violation and Bowen then made 1 of 2 free throws, got the rebound of his own miss, and made two more free throws to cement the victory.
Oshae Brissett led the Mad Ants (3-5) with 28 points, including a thunderous dunk in the first overtime, and 11 rebounds against his former team. Jalen Lecque had 20 points. Josh Gray added 18.
Brimah totaled 12 points, eight rebounds and five shot blocks. Bowen had 10 points – he was 5 of 6 from the free-throw line – and added seven rebounds and five assists.
The Raptors (4-3) were paced by Henry Ellenson’s 26 points and 12 rebounds. Jalen Harris had 20 points.
“We’re learning, just learning to string together and just play together,” Brimah said. “We’re just figuring out the chemistry of the team and the role of everyone right now. I think that’s what we’ve figured out.”
The Mad Ants had defeated Iowa 98-83 in double overtime Saturday and are 1½ games out of the eighth and final G League playoff spot with seven games left.
“We’ve been saying this the whole time: The guys, they compete,” Hankins said. “For a group of guys who didn’t really know much about each other not that long ago, for them to come together and compete as hard as they have, losing all these close games and then just staying with it, that’s impressive and a testament to who they are, their character and what kind of guys they are.”