It was a coulda-woulda,-shoulda kind of game. The Canton Charge coulda won if only the last free throw went in. The Canton Charge woulda won except for shots careening harmlessly off the rim. The Canton Charge shoulda won what with a 20+ lead during the game. Sometimes things happen that are beyond the control of everyone involved and that was the kind of night the Canton Charge had.
The Charge was riding an eight game winning streak at home only to have it snapped by the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in a 106-102 at the Canton Memorial Civic Center on Saturday night. The defeat drops Canton to 8-2 for the season while improving the Mad Ants to 4-5 with their third straight win.
The game started well enough as Canton outrebounded Fort Wayne 15-4 in the first quarter while hitting 11-of-19 for 58% in the field. This gave the Charge a 26-19 lead at the first buzzer. The second quarter saw it again going in the Charge’s favor as they got tight on defense and kept the Mad Ants to 38%. Canton earned 12 first half assists on 20 field goals with Arinze Onuaku scoring nine of his 13 first half points during the second quarter. At the mid-point break it was Canton up 54-41.
The Charge managed to run up the score by as many as 20 points as one point when Fort Wayne came alive and hit 15-of-20 shots for 75% outscoring them 35-26. With a 19-6 charge with the final 5:30 left in the third they managed to come within four points going into the fourth quarter.
It was back and forth the entire fourth quarter with five lead changes during a strongly defensive game. Fort Wayne played heavy forcing seven Canton turnovers for nine while not giving up the ball at their end of the court. Canton was limited to a paltry 4-17 shooting for 24%.
Fort Wayne took a 94-90 lead with 38.9 seconds left when Bo Spencer fired a three pointer for bring Canton to within one point. Michael Lee drew a hard foul under the board and after tying the score at 94 all failed to hit the second shot for the lead. Fort Wayne’s Ron Howard went for the win from 18 feet out but his miss put the game into overtime.
The Mad Ants struck first in overtime as Howard hit a jumper and put Fort Wayne ahead 96-94. Both teams threw bricks before Spencer sunk a three pointer that brought all the fans to their feet. With 1:52 left in overtime and the Charge ahead by one Fort Wayne went on a 9-0 tear and with the help of three Canton misses and 25th turnover of the game (a season high) left the fans shaking their heads as they quietly exited the Center.
For Canton, Kevin Jones scored a team-high 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting with 10 rebounds and two assists in 29 minutes for his third double-double of the season. Onuaku finished with 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting, 11 rebounds and one block in 27 minutes for his fourth double-double in his last five games. Spencer totaled 15 points and seven rebounds in 32 minutes off the bench,
Howard led the Mad Ants with 23 points, five rebounds and four assists in 42 minutes. Sadiel Rojas added 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting with four rebounds and four steals in 32 minutes. Trey McKinney Jones supplied 15 points, six rebounds and four assists in 46 minutes.
The Charge are back at home hosting the Reno Bighorns on Saturday, December 28th, at 7:00 p.m., with tickets starting as low as $7! The contest features dollar hot dogs presented by Sugardale and postgame autographs presented by FirstEnergy Solutions.
To purchase single game tickets or for all general ticket information, fans can call 1-866-444-1944 or visit www.CantonCharge.com/tickets.