FORT WAYNE – Why did Duane Ticknor slam the basketball against the coaches’ locker room door?
Probably because be couldn’t throw a player.
Underlining the mad in Mad Ants and the ticked in Ticknor, the first-year coach was livid following the Ants’ 112-104 loss to Erie on Tuesday at Memorial Coliseum.
I don’t even want to talk about the second half because it doesn’t matter, Ticknor fumed. All that means nothing because of the way we played in the first half.
It was the first half that provided the fuse to Ticknor’s dynamite.
Playing at home for the first time since Feb. 8, the bodies of the Ants (16-19) were there, but the spirit wasn’t.
Erie (20-15) led by 10 after the first quarter and zoomed in front by as many as 26 (61-35) near the midway point of the second.
Coming out of the locker room invigorated, the Mad Ants made five of their first six shots of the third quarter while giving up two open three-pointers to Erie’s D.J. Kennedy, who finished with 23 points.
But the Ants kept marching. By getting a combined 10 points from guards Ron Howard and Anthony Harris, they got within 104-99 with 3:03 remaining.
But the team’s next four shots didn’t fall, which meant the Mad Ants did.
We just wasted a great half of basketball, the exasperated Ticknor said. We threw that in the garbage can – that half we played in the second half because we didn’t come ready to play (Tuesday). Very disappointed of our effort.
We owe our fans more than that. People came out in bad weather, then to come out and lay an egg like that the first half is embarrassing to me, and it should be embarrassing to our players. I don’t know if it is or not, but it should be.
Howard, who led the team with 28 points, admitted there wasn’t much fire from the home team.
We didn’t play with a lot of intensity, Howard said. Granted, (Erie) made a lot of shots, but we weren’t matching the intensity they brought in the first half. We dug ourselves too big a hole. It’s tough to win like that.
Finally, Ticknor and the team saw eye-to-eye on something Tuesday.
Total lack of effort, Ticknor said.
No energy. No enthusiasm. Standing straight up and down on defense. We gave up 30 points in both quarters – 30 and 31. You’re not going to win basketball games doing that.