Big Buckets Boost Skyforce in Win over Grand Rapids
Clutch shooting in the final stages sent the Sioux Falls Skyforce to victory 104-98 over the Grand Rapids Drive on Friday night at the DeltaPlex Arena.
To get to those clutch moments at the end, each team had their own moments to shine. Notably the Drive (11-11) starting the second half with a 19-8 run to open up their largest lead of the game 69-61 midway through the period. Sioux Falls (20-4) countered with 10 straight to draw ahead by two with under three minutes left in that frame.
Neither team held a lead of more than three through the next eight minutes of game action. Gradually the Skyforce created some extra space midway through the fourth quarter eventually pushing the lead to 98-89 with 2:55 left.
With the lead on the road, two crucial possessions cemented victory for Sioux Falls. After giving up a basket with 90 seconds left, Rodney McGruder buried a three as the shot clock expired to push the lead to 101-93 with one minute remaining. Spencer Dinwiddie struck back with a three for the hosts to set up a similar situation. Again using nearly all the allotted time to shoot, Tre Kelley nailed a jumper with 30 seconds left in the game to lead by seven.
It was a crucial sequence that underscores the championship habits that Coach Dan Craig has elicited from this team. Along the way the Skyforce have reached heights that no team in the NBADL has previously accomplished through 24 games.
The eight players deployed by Sioux Falls each scored a minimum of seven points. Keith Benson and McGruder tied at the top with 21 points apiece with four others scoring at least 10.
Grand Rapids had all five starters in double digits with Devin Ebanks, the former L.A. Laker piling up 21 points. Henry Sims put together a strong performance with 17 points and 12 rebounds.
Sioux Falls will next face a team with a current winning streak of seven as the Canton Charge will host their contest on Saturday night. Meanwhile Grand Rapids is scheduled to host Raptors 905 on Sunday.