The Raptors 905 began their four-game homestand with a comfortable 135-125 victory against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. They improve to 11-10 on the season, just squeaking by the Fort Wayne Mad Ants for sixth in the Eastern Conference – the final Playoff spot. With the loss, the Mad Ants fall to 13-11 for fifth in the East.
Jeff Dowtin Jr. returned from a three-game absence from the team to lead Thursday night’s high-powered offence, producing three triples, 26 points, five rebounds, and nine assists on 60 FG%.
“I definitely would say my confidence was sky-high just playing up there with those guys getting a lot of run,” said Dowtin of his recent string of three games averaging 19 minutes for the Raptors. “Bringing energy, defence, being able to hit open shots. Whenever your name’s called you just have to be ready, so that’s all I was trying to do.”
He averages 15.9 points, 1.3 triples, and 6.2 assists for the season.
The 905 welcomed back sharpshooting forward Joe Wieskamp who last suited up for the team back on Jan. 9 against the Capital City Go-Go, scoring 19 points with four triples and seven rebounds. Wieskamp signed a multi-year contract with the Toronto Raptors on Feb. 11 after previously fulfilling two 10-day contracts with the franchise.
“I was super excited,” said Wieskamp of his signing with the Toronto Raptors. “I felt like I did a good job in those two 10-days just showing what I can do. I’m just super thankful that they’ve given me this opportunity through the end of the season, and I can tell they believe in me and want to keep developing me. It’s a great opportunity, it’s a great organization, you can tell that they value winning, so it’s awesome to be a part of.”
Wieskamp had another excellent two-way game in his return tonight against the Mad Ants, knocking down three triples while putting up 17 points and six rebounds. He also had two impressive blocks, the first of which was a block on Pedro Bradshaw’s three-point attempt, and the other a chase down block against the glass on Tevin Brown’s layup attempt. He nearly had a fastbreak dunk in the closing seconds of the first half but was stopped by Justin Anderson who threw his body into Wieskamp’s as he elevated. A foul was not called.
Anderson, Fort Wayne’s 6’5” star wing, posed the biggest challenge to the 905’s defence on Thursday. Possessing a potent combination of size, speed, and playmaking feel, his night ended with 29 points, six rebounds, and seven assists. His frontcourt mate Trevlin Queen had a game-high of 33 points, five rebounds, and four assists, but had six turnovers that spoiled an otherwise impactful night.
Fort Wayne’s small ball big man Jermaine Samuels Jr. was the third and final starter with 20-plus points on at least 50 FG%, totalling 22 along with four rebounds.
After putting up a game-high 24 points against the Motor City Cruise on Saturday, Sterling Brown once again demonstrated why he’s one of head coach Eric Khoury’s more reliable rotation pieces. He shot an efficient 53.8 percent from the field, generating 17 points, six rebounds, eight assists, and two steals in 32 minutes. He has one of the best motors on the team and simply doesn’t take possessions off.
Kylor Kelley enjoyed a career night, setting a career-high of 11 rebounds (five offensive) and tying a career-high of 12 points for his first ever double-double in the NBA G League. The 25-year-old big man consistently fought on the boards and was a constant threat above-the-rim with the Mad Ants using lineups that had no one taller than 6’7” for 38 of the game’s 48 minutes.
Christian Koloko had 16 points and five rebounds in 25 minutes. Ron Harper Jr. had a quietly productive night with 12 points, five rebounds, and four assists.
The two teams will have a rematch on Saturday, Mar. 4 at 2:00 P.M.
Thursday night’s Fort Wayne Mad Ants vs. Raptors 905 box score click HERE.
Photos by Faz Visions