WHITE PLAINS, March 30, 2016 – The Westchester Knicks (27-21), the official NBA Development League affiliate of the New York Knickerbockers, fell at home to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (19-30) one night after clinching the fourth and final spot in the 2016 NBA D-League Playoffs. With the 98-91 loss, Westchester is secured as the #4 seed and will face the Sioux Falls Skyforce in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.
The Mad Ants used a 17-4 run in the first six minutes for a huge advantage to start the game. Led by 10 points off 3-for-3 shooting from guard Michael Frazier, Fort Wayne found success around the perimeter to control the first quarter. Trailing by as many as 19 points with just over two minutes to play in the quarter, the Knicks managed to tip in nine points to end the first twelve minutes down by 13.
Down by 22 points with 9:25 on the clock in the second quarter, Westchester began to chip away at the deficit. Using a few quick runs followed up with a big 9-0 run in the final minutes of the half, the Knicks were able to cut the Mad Ants’ lead to just eight points heading into the locker room.
The third quarter fared poorly for both teams as each side went 0-for from beyond the arc. Shooting just 34 percent, the Mad Ants were able to take advantage of seven Knicks turnovers for 10 points. Continuing a run from far behind, Westchester came within three off a show time slam from guard Ra’Shad James with the assist from Travis Trice II. But quick retaliation from Fort Wayne saw a Mad Ants lead of nine going into the final quarter.
Westchester pulled within three in the fourth but the Mad Ants quickly resumed pace to extend the lead back to nine, backed by 12 points from Walter Lemon Jr. Despite giving up twelve points to seven turnovers in the quarter, Fort Wayne held on for the win, the final score 98-91.
Travis Trice II paced Westchester with 21 points, adding five assists and three steals. Jordan Bachynski secured his fourth double-double in a row with 16 points and 11 rebounds while Ra’Shad James contributed 15 points and six rebounds from the bench. New York Knicks assignee Cleanthony Early finished with 12 points on 5-for-16 shooting, adding six rebounds and two steals.
Michael Frazier led the Mad Ants with 20 points and six rebounds; Walter Lemon Jr. right behind him with 19 points and three assists. Stephan Hicks rounded out the double-double scorers with 10 points, also contributing seven rebounds.