LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (WFFT) – The Delaware Blue Coats opened their season with a win and the Fort Wayne Mad Ants fell to 0-2 on Wednesday. The Blue Coats saw a game high 28 points from Jared Brownridge as they took the 124-119 win at the Advent Health Center.
The Blue Coats shot 47.6 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from three point range in the win. Fort Wayne won the rebound battle with 46 to Delaware's 42.
The teams traded the lead throughout the first quarter with neither team getting out to more than a three point lead. The Mad Ants ended the quarter with a 23-22 lead as Oshae Brissett followed up a miss for a lay in during the closing seconds.
Early in the second, Delaware was able to push out to a four-point lead on a Paul Reed three pointer and a Jemerrio Jones jumper. A Rayjon Tucker triple wit 8:20 left in the second quarter pushed the lead for Delaware to double digits for the first time, 35-23. Fort Wayne stopped the scoring drought with a Cassius Stanley and-one and a Naz Mitrou-Long steal and fast break layup with 6:32 left in the half to pull within five. The Blue Coats took a 53-48 lead into the break behind Reed's 13 points and eight rebounds.
A Julian Washburn three with 6:22 left in the third extended the Delaware lead back to double digits, 71-61, the eighth three pointer of the game for the Blue Coats at that point. Jared Brownridge extended the lead to a game high 12 points on the next possession. Fort Wayne pulled within three points with three minutes left in the quarter and then tied the game with 2:34 left on a Daxter Miles Jr. corner three. Delaware was able to extend their lead back to 93-86 and the end of the third.
Both teams made runs in the fourth but it kept the Delaware lead mostly stable in the process. A Mitrou-Long dribble drive finish cut the Mad Ants deficit to 109-103 with five minutes to play but a Rayjon Tucker three pointer a minute later just continued the see saw that went back in favor of the Blue Coats by nine. Fort Wayne climbed back to within one with 1:57 left to play but the Blue Coats hit back from the free throw line and a Tucker basket at the rim with 56.3 seconds to play to extend their lead back to six.
Delaware led 119-117 with 19 seconds to remain and Fort Wayne was forced to put Justin Robinson on the line where he hit one of two to extend the lead to 120-117. Fort Wayne got back within one but couldn't get over the hump.
Outside of Brownridge's top scoring game, Delaware saw 22 points and four assists from Tucker and 20 points and 10 rebounds from Reed.
For Fort Wayne, Brissett and Mitrou-Long each scored 21 points with Brissett adding 10 rebounds. Rookie Rayshaun Hammonds had the first double double of his career with 12 points and 12 rebounds, both career highs.