(GR Drive news release)
Ramon Harris scored at the last second of a wild game to give the Grand Rapids Drive (23-24) a dramatic win over the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (28-20) on Saturday night at the DeltaPlex, winning 99-97. The Drive snapped a three-game home losing streak and got some revenge after the Mad Ants eliminated them from playoff contention the previous night.
The tide turned several times in a matter of just seconds in the closing plays of the game. Lorenzo Brown hit a jumper to put the Drive ahead 95-93 with just under a minute remaining, but Tyler Hansbrough responded on the other end with a basket to tie it. The Drive couldn’t convert their next attempt, and Alex Poythress followed up a Mad Ants miss for two points to give Fort Wayne a two-point lead with five seconds left.
The Drive ran a give-and-go with Brown inbounding, and he tied the game with an emphatic dunk with 2.6 seconds left. Ray McCallum knocked the Fort Wayne inbound off the Mad Ants to give the Drive a chance at the win inbounding with one second left. McCallum tried to throw up an alley-oop, which clanged off the rim. Harris gathered the rebound and scored the game-winning basket with 0.4 seconds remaining, as the Mad Ants couldn’t connect on the last-second heave.
Brown was excellent for the Drive, scoring 31 points on 13-of-20 shooting with seven rebounds and seven assists. McCallum added 13 points, nine assists and seven rebounds and Chris Horton had 14 points and seven rebounds on the year. Harris, who connected on his second last-second game-winning bucket of the season, had seven points.
The Drive had the upper hand early, opening the game on a 7-1 run and holding the Mad Ants to just 13 second-quarter points, and headed into halftime leading 48-41. But Fort Wayne scored the first seven points of the second half and it was a back-and-forth battle from then until the final buzzer.
All five Fort Wayne starters scored in double figures, with Stephan Hicks leading the way by scoring 25 points. Poythress had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Hansbrough had 16 points also with 10 rebounds, all but two of his points coming in the first half.
The Drive uncharacteristically held the bench points advantage, outscoring the Fort Wayne reserves 32-12. The Drive hit just five three-pointers and went 10-of-18 from the foul line, but overcame those gaffes by forcing 18 turnovers and coughing up the ball just nine times themselves.
The Drive’s next game action is a rescheduled game against the Maine Red Claws at home at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, March 28. The Mad Ants play the Long Island Nets on the road at 1:30 p.m. the same day.