Sioux Falls Skyforce Regroup In Reno
Over a span of four consecutive quarters spread across two games the Sioux Falls Skyforce cumulative output was 58 points. The next fact to ponder: over 22 consecutive minutes of game action bridging the last ten minutes in Santa Cruz and the first stanza in Reno, Sioux Falls was outscored by 44 points. Thus to rally for a 113-110 road victory over the Reno Bighorns on Saturday night is nothing short of astounding. It might have also saved their season.
The goal has always been the NBA Development League playoffs ever since coach Joel Abelson was brought on board to lead the team. Changes were made to keep a stocked roster that could compete with any team in the league. Including a tough loss in Tulsa just over a week ago, Sioux Falls (22-18) had dropped a total of four straight and six out of their last seven. A 35-14 hole on the road in Reno (13-24) to start the contest left the impression that struggles would continue. Although the body of work for Reno reveals a struggling squad that had dropped five straight coming into the contest.
A 29-point second quarter emboldened Sioux Falls offensively while the half time deficit was still solidly seventeen in Reno’s favor. Demetris Nichols found the stroke in the third quarter scoring 16 of his game-high 31 points to draw the Skyforce to within thirteen points at the end of three periods. Nine straight points in the middle of the fourth quarter closed the gap to four and the momentum carried the Skyforce to the lead for the first time in the game with a three-point play by James Mays with 1:30 left. Final points of the night came on a three pointer by Andre Barrett with 1.2 seconds to go which sealed the win.
Beyond the 31 points from Nichols, the forward from Syracuse grabbed 10 rebounds. Mays and Barrett scored 15 each to lead the effort. For Reno, Samardo Samuels scored 28 points followed by Ronald Dupree with 25 and Dar Tucker with 21. Next for the Skyforce is a two-game set with the Iowa Energy in Des Moines the following Friday and Saturday with Reno back on the home court Sunday with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.