Skyforce Pump Life into Playoff Hopes with Win over Santa Cruz
An important game for both teams turned out to be a wire-to-wire win for the Sioux Falls Skyforce over the Santa Cruz Warriors 119-105 Tuesday night at the Sanford Pentagon.
Throughout the majority of the contest, Sioux Falls (24-19) played with a double digit lead. Head Coach Nevada Smith said opting for aggressiveness instead of jump shots was a key factor in getting the win.
"We really did a nice job of getting downhill. The lanes were open and we got to the basket a little bit. We need to have both for a balanced attack. Matt Williams was sick so that's usually 10 attempts from three per game that wasn't in the lineup and guys who replaced him take it to the basket."
Santa Cruz (21-22) dressed only eight players and Skyforce forward Alonzo Gee (13 points, 2 steals) admitted being able to wear down the Warriors was part of the plan.
"Coach wanted us to attack and get the ball up the court quick, to push it on the fast break. If we get stops, we work well to transition into offense. That's what we focused on, getting stops and pushing it as fast as we can."
The Warriors loss drops them three and a half games back of a playoff wildcard while the Skyforce win puts them one game ahead of Oklahoma City for the division lead.
Derrick Jones, Jr. led Sioux Falls with 24 points and Torrey Craig added 20 points with 4 blocks. Ike Nwamu hit 5 of 9 from deep on the way to 17 points and Larry Drew II scored 16 with 5 assists to top 1,000 assists for his Skyforce career.
Chris Boucher had 21 points and 15 rebounds to pace the Santa Cruz attack. Trevor Thompson came off the bench to also post 21 points.
Both teams play Saturday road games in their next outings as the Warriors will face Memphis and Sioux Falls squares off with Austin.