The Westchester Knicks big fourth quarter comeback fell just short as they dropped a 98-97 decision to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants at the Westchester County Center on Wednesday afternoon.
After outscoring the Mad Ants 25-14 in the final period, the Knicks had a last chance to pull out the win, but Jimmer Fredette wasn’t able to get a shot off and Travis Trice had to settle for a desperation 3-point shot that went wide.
Rakeem Christmas and Marcus Simmons led the way for Fort Wayne in the win. Christmas had a game-high 25 points on 9 for 24 shooting from the floor with 13 rebounds and three blocked shots while Simmons added 13 points on 50 percent shooting with 11 boards and three assists.
Xavier Thames and C.J. Fair also had nice outings as the Mad Ants improved to 5-3 on the season. Thames registered 14 points on the strength of a 3 for 4 day from 3-point land with three assists and three steals while Fair had 11 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
Four players scored in double figures for the Knicks as they dropped to 6-1 on the year. Darion Atkins had a double-double with 18 points on 9 for 14 shooting from the floor with 10 rebounds while Cleanthony Early managed 16 points of 5 for 13 shooting with nine rebounds and two blocked shots.
Sean Marshall added 12 points on 4 for 14 shooting with eight rebounds, a steal and a block in 28 minutes while Jordan Bachynski came away with seven points, seven rebounds and five blocked shots.
Although he couldn’t come up with a game-winner, Fredette had a big day in the loss. He finished with 22 points on 8 for 18 shooting from the floor, including 1 of 2 from beyond the arc and 5 for 6 from the free-throw line. He added nine assists, seven rebounds and five steals in 42 minutes of action.
He got off to a slow start with two turnovers before he registered his first points on a pair of free-throws with 4:24 left in the first quarter. After a missed lay up and his second assist of the day, he hit a pull-up 3-point shot in transition for his first field goal.
He did nice work on the glass and sharing the ball in the second quarter, but had a tough time making shots. He was 2 for 6 in the quarter with his two makes coming on a jump shot and a lay up, but he missed three shots from in close and his only 3-point attempt. He did chip in with four rebounds and three assists, including passes on two Atkins baskets.
He made some nice plays on the defensive side of the ball in the third quarter with a pair of steals, and got to the line where he made 3 of 4 attempts. He added two more assists on baskets by Marshall and Thanasis Antetokounmo, and knocked down a jumper.
He was his most aggressive in the fourth quarter and stuffed the stat sheet. He made 4 for 8 shots from the floor, including two lay ups and two jumpers. He also chipped in with three rebounds and two assists, including a draw-and-kick for a Marshall 3-point shot that cut the deficit to 98-97. He made some plays on defense as well, getting out in the passing lanes for two steals that set up easy baskets.
Up next for Fredette and the Knicks is a trip to face off with the 6-1 Austin Spurs on Friday night. The Spurs are led by Bryce Cotton who is averaging 22.3 points on 58.7 percent shooting from the floor with 4.8 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals in four games.