Sioux Falls Skyforce Gain Weekend Split with Iowa Energy
After the last two NBA Development League contests at the Sanford Pentagon, one thing is certain. Victory comes when a team executes in the middle to late stages of the fourth quarter. Two good teams like the Iowa Energy and Sioux Falls Skyforce took that mantra to heart with the visitors winning Friday 99-95 and the home team holding serve on Saturday 108-98 handing Iowa their first loss of the season.
The Friday night win for Iowa featured a crucial 10-0 run over a two minute stretch in the middle of the 4th quarter that turned a seven point deficit into a three point lead. Chris Allen connected on consecutive 3 point bombs during that fateful sequence. It was a mirror image 24 hours later as Sioux Falls (3-1) used a 10-2 spurt to get from down five to up three. Seven-foot center Justin Hamilton left the post to turn sharpshooter with consecutive three pointers.
It was almost playoff-like in atmosphere as both teams notably shortened the rotation. Iowa (3-1) played 8 and the Skyforce used 7 players out of necessity. Larry Drew II was nursing a balky hamstring in street clothes and Anthony Mason, Jr. was an emergency option only because of injury. Carrying the heavy load for Sioux Falls were DeAndre Liggins with 28 points, the aforementioned Hamilton with 26 points and 19 rebounds, rookie A.J. Davis tallying 21 and Bill Walker with 18 points and 12 boards.
Iowa’s Othyus Jeffers is hands down playing at an NBA level. The 6-4 guard scored 29, grabbed 16 rebounds and dealt 5 assists. Jarvis Varnado continued to patrol the paint, blocking 4 more shots to go with his 15 points and 7 rebounds. Not surprisingly, the former Skyforce center is leading the league with 18 swats.
Sioux Falls will take their show on the road for the first time this season for a matinee in Tulsa on Thursday. Iowa will head to Erie for their fifth straight road contest before playing in Des Moines on Sunday December 8 against Rio Grande Valley.