Skyforce Blank 905 Raptors in Overtime to Capture Win
The shorthanded Skyforce needed overtime to secure a Tuesday night win 111-102 over the 905 Raptors. A crowd of 3,033 saw the tight battle at the Sanford Pentagon.
Sioux Falls (9-3) only had eight players in uniform, however three of them scored season highs in points answering the call when summoned. Keith Benson was out with a lower leg injury and Greg Whittington missed his second game with an injured hand.
Byron Mullens scored 22 points with 11 rebounds and hit a crucial three point shot in the fourth quarter after getting encouragement from his teammates to keep shooting. “Every time I came to the bench, I kind of had my head down about missing my first three three (point shots). My teammates were telling me ‘You’re on point. You’re just hitting the back of the rim. Stay with it.’ Rodney ended up getting a rebound they kicked it out to me and I made a big shot.” To put the phrase “big shot” in perspective, Mullens connected with the shot clock winding down and less than two minutes left in regulation and the Skyforce down by a point. Watch the drama unfold on the video below.
The Raptors (5-10) ability to hang tight all game long deserves a lot of credit as the lead changed hands 23 times with the score also tied 13 times. Looking back on the first meeting between these two teams, the visitors will mostly regret their free throw shooting performance (46 percent).
A brief eight-point Skyforce lead in the third quarter would be the largest for either team until the extra session. Sioux Falls scored all 9 points in overtime to provide the final margin. It breaks a string of victories that were by 10 or more points.
Bubu Palo was one of the other breakout performers with 18 points and credited his teammates for opening things up on the offensive end. “With DeAndre (Liggins) and Tre (Kelley) being such great players, they really tried to focus on them. They played really unselfishly and kick it to us. I just tried to be aggressive to get into the paint and make some plays today.”
The other breakout Skyforce performer was Nigel Spikes who scored 8 points but grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked 7 shots. Liggins had a noteworthy performance by nearly getting his second straight triple-double (18 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists).
For Raptors 905 Norman Powell led all scorers with 26 tallies on assignment from the Toronto Raptors. Meanwhile highly touted prospect Ronald Roberts, Jr. added 21 points and gobbled up 17 rebounds.
On Christmas Day Sioux Falls will host the Oklahoma City Blue. Raptors 905 will play the day after Christmas at Canton.