The hope of defending their NBADL title still breathes as the Sioux Falls Skyforce held off the Northern Arizona Suns 129-120 on Sunday at the Sanford Pentagon.

Seizing control near the end of the first quarter, Sioux Falls (27-20) asserted themselves as the aggressor for much of the contest. During the third quarter the lead blossomed to 20 points.

A furious fourth quarter rally by the Suns (22-26) sliced the margin down to one. Skyforce Head Coach Nevada Smith acknowledged the letdown but is heartened by the team’s resiliency.

“We were able to get some stuff early. When you get leads you tend to slow things down. It’s something we’ve fought this year. We’ve got to keep the foot on the gas by doing what works like keep pushing the ball and getting early offense because that’s our best offense.”

Skyforce guard Malik Beasley who is on assignment from the Denver Nuggets also felt that maintaining aggression is key to putting teams away.

“We’ve got to make sure we defend better and make sure we keep pushing the ball in transition to get those easy baskets. We need to (keep pushing) and not settle.”

Greg Whittington knocked home 23 points with 8 rebounds to lead Sioux Falls. Patrick Miller (22 points), Bubu Palo (20 points) and Beasley (18 points) were among six Skyforce players in double figures.

Elijah Millsap scored 24 to lead the Suns offensively who also had six in double figures. Shaquille Harrison's 22 and Josh Gray off the bench with 20 were the other top performers.

Sioux Falls will host the Iowa Energy on Tuesday night. Northern Arizona will wait until Thursday to welcome the Austin Spurs to Prescott Valley.

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