Fort Wayne Mad Ants guard Xavier Thames hit a buzzer-beating three pointer to lift his team to an 83-80 win over Raptors 905 Saturday evening in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The contest was the season-opening game for both clubs and the inaugural NBA Development League regular season game in the history of Raptors 905.
Tied 36-36 at the half, the contest was a back-and-forth affair through most of the first three quarters, with the Mad Ants stretching their lead to seven points for the first time in the game with under five minutes left in the third quarter. Fort Wayne’s 29-point third-frame outburst – led by nine points and six rebounds from CJ Fair in the quarter – put the Mad Ants ahead by 11 heading into the fourth quarter.
Raptors 905 stormed back in the final quarter, erasing the 13-point deficit they faced early in the fourth and taking a late lead. Tied 80-80 in the dying seconds, Fort Wayne’s Shayne Whittington stole the ball from Raptors 905’s Lucas Nogueira and the Mad Ants called time out. Thames accepted the subsequent inbound pass and hit a three-point shot as time expired to seal the game for Fort Wayne.
Rakeem Christmas led the Mad Ants offensively with a game-high 24 points. Fair added 19 points to go with nine rebounds, while Thames finished with 17 points and six assists. Scott Suggs had a team-high 20 points for Raptors 905, while Bruno Caboclo (16), Melvin Johnson (12) and Nogueira (11) also reached double digits. Caboclo also had a game-high 13 rebounds for the night’s only double-double.
The two teams were evenly matched in almost all shooting situations in the game. Raptors 905 narrowly led Fort Wayne in field goal percentage (39.5-36.4) and three-point percentage (26.9-25.0), while the Mad Ants edged Raptors 905 in free throw percentage (65.0-64.3), second-chance points (19-12) and fast-break points (3-2). Both clubs had 40 points in the paint.
Raptors 905 and the Mad Ants will go head-to-head again Sunday, November 15 at 5 p.m. in Fort Wayne.