HOFFMAN ESTATES, IL – The Windy City Bulls, presented by BMO Harris Bank, the NBA G League affiliate of the Chicago Bulls, concluded its final road game of the season with a 119-107 loss to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants on Friday Night at Allen Country War Memorial Coliseum.
Windy City was without the services of Ryan Arcidiacono and had a total of eight healthy bodies after Will Davis left the game due to injury. Two players scored 25 or more points led by Mychal Mulder who poured in a team-high 26 points off the bench. Alex Hamilton, who also starred in a reserve role, scored 25 points and added five rebounds, eight assists, two steals and a blocked shot. Tyler Harris tallied 17 points and four rebounds, while Jarell Eddie collected 15 points and 11 rebounds for his third career double-double. CJ Fair pitched in with six points and six rebounds and Karrington Ward had five points.
Offense was limited as the Bulls struggled to find a rhythm at the outset. Back-to-back buckets by Harris gave Windy City an early lead, but a quick 11-0 spurt by Fort Wayne put them ahead by double figures with 7:31 remaining in the period. Collectively, Windy City picked up five team fouls in the first four minutes of the quarter, allowing Fort Wayne to shoot 12 total free throws in the opening 12 minutes. The Mad Ants went on to lead by as many as 18 points, while the Bulls shot 33 percent on seven made field-goals. Despite the sizable deficit, Windy City closed the quarter in style and scored the final nine points of the period to make it a nine-point game at the end of the first stanza.
Five Mad Ants players scored in double-figures led by DeQuan Jones who posted a game-high 28 points to go along with his seven rebounds and two steals. Walter Lemon registered a near triple-double with 22 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists, while two-way player Ben Moore scored 19 points off the bench. Jarrod Uthoff and Stephan Hicks each added 18 points.
After being outscored by five to start the second quarter, Windy City made a run aided by the play of Hamilton, who scored 12 points in the period. Trailing by 14 points with nine minutes left to play before halftime, the Bulls used a 12-4 run to make it a six-point game, which is the closest they had been since the opening minutes of the first quarter. However, Fort Wayne responded with nine consecutive points of their own to retake a double-digit lead. Free throws by Hamilton and Eddie stopped the Mad Ants run and a basket by Johnson snapped a four-minute stretch where Windy City failed to convert a field-goal. For the quarter, Fort Wayne outscored the Bulls by four and led 59-46 at the intermission.
Hicks and Lemon tallied the first five points of the second half and the Mad Ants matched their largest lead of the night at 18. Windy City went scoreless for the first three minutes of the quarter before Harris and Hamilton combined to score six straight points. With under four minutes to play in the period, the Bulls sliced the lead to single digits and made it a nine-point game. Mulder tallied 15 points in the period and served as the catalyst for Windy City’s strong third quarter. The Bulls scored 33 points in the frame and as a result, they trailed by five heading into the final 12 minutes.
The first five points of the fourth quarter belonged to Fort Wayne and the Mad Ants used a 10-2 start to take a 14-point lead, which forced a Windy City timeout with 9:03 left to play. Following the stoppage in play, the Bulls managed to chop four points off the deficit, but back-to-back three-pointers by Lemon extended the lead to 17. The Bulls made one final late run and scored seven unanswered points to make it a nine-point game, but it was a little too late. Fort Wayne poured in a game-high 35 fourth quarter points to seal their 29th victory of the season and a first-round playoff bid.
With the loss, Windy City is now 23-26 with one game remaining in the regular season. Windy City returns home tomorrow night to square off against the Greensboro Swarm in the season finale. Tip-off is 7:00 p.m. CT at Sears Centre Arena.
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