HOFFMAN ESTATES, IL – The Windy City Bulls, presented by BMO Harris Bank, the NBA G League affiliate of the Chicago Bulls, dropped their second consecutive game in a 114-108 loss to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants on Friday night at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.
Antonio Blakeney registered his tenth 30-point game as he led all scorers with 35 points and eight rebounds. Cristiano Felicio, who was on assignment from the Chicago Bulls, scored 18 points and grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds, while Jaylen Johnson notched a 13-point, 12 rebound performance for his eighth double-double and seventh consecutive game scoring in double figures. Ryan Arcidiacono pitched in with 11 points and 11 assists, his fourth double-digit assist game of the season.
Windy City scored the opening basket of the game, but the lead was short-lived as they managed to hit just three of their first 12 shots, leading to six points in the opening six minutes of the game. Johnson paced all Bulls scorers with five first-quarter points, while Blakeney and Felicio went 3-of-14 in the opening 12 minutes. Jarell Eddie, who missed the previous 15 games due to injury, knocked down a three-point shot in his first action since Nov. 15. The Bulls shot 30 percent from the floor, made seven shots in the quarter and trailed 25-18 at the end of one.
Four players scored in double figures for Fort Wayne led by Walter Lemon who poured in a team-high 30 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists. Jarod Uthoff tallied 29, which was five points off his career-high, while Stephan Hicks scored 14. Trey McKinney Jones knocked in 13 off the bench.
Windy City’s offensive woes continued as the Bulls struggled from the floor to start the second. Fort Wayne extended the lead to double figures and opened a 15-point lead, their largest of the night. The Mad Ants controlled the first half as they led for 22 consecutive minutes. The Bulls offense came alive halfway through the period and they responded with a 19-4 run to make it a one-point game. Blakeney and Arcidiacono warmed to the task as they combined for 16 points and five rebounds in the quarter. Mychal Mulder knocked down a pair of free throws to give the Bulls their first lead since the opening minute, but Lemon closed the half with a driving layup to give Fort Wayne the 51-50 advantage at the intermission.
Windy City’s second half began with four made field goals on six attempts, which gave the Bulls a four-point lead. The third quarter was status quo until the Mad Ants created some separation late in the period aided by Uthoff had the hot hand in the third. He scored nine of his 29 points in the third on three three-point baskets, while Lemon and Hicks assisted him with eight points apiece. Fort Wayne led by as by as many as six and scored six of the final eight points to carry an 87-80 lead into the final quarter.
Fort Wayne’s seven-point lead evaporated quickly as the Bulls rattled off 11 consecutive fourth-quarter points to take a four-point lead. The Mad Ants were scoreless for the opening four minutes before a Hicks dunk put them on the board. The final period featured a seesaw battle as neither team led by more than four until the final five seconds. Trailing 106-104 with under two minutes to play, the Mad Ants used a mini 6-0 run to recapture the lead. On the ensuing possession, Antonio Blakeney scored on a layup to trim the lead to two, but Fort Wayne sealed the game at the free throw line for their 13th victory of the season.
Windy City has lost both contests to the Mad Ants this season and are five games under .500, which is season-low. The Bulls return home on Saturday to take on the Wisconsin Herd on the second night of a back-to-back. Tip-off is 7:00 CST at Sears Centre Arena.
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