Skyforce Set Blistering pace to Beat Resilient Stars
At times it resembled a track meet, but it was at those times that the Sioux Falls Skyforce were at their best downing Salt Lake City 138-127 Monday night at Bruin Arena in Salt Lake City.
On numerous occasions the Skyforce (25-20) pushed their lead to 20 points. Converting turnovers quickly fed the Sioux Falls fast break and created loads of shots in close on a 57 percent clip for all shots.
Credit the Stars (16-30) for always rising after being laid low. An aggressive game plan served them well which put Salt Lake City at the free throw line 43 times in the contest.
Midway through the second quarter Sioux Falls assembled a 14-5 run that pushed the lead to 62-42 before settling to a 15-point bulge at half. Starting the third quarter a 10-2 burst made it 84-64. Then the Stars pulled to within 7 after the first basket of the fourth quarter. Six minutes later the lead was 23 points on a 19-5 Sioux Falls run, but the never-say-die Stars kept applying the pressure until the final horn making the Skyforce earn the series sweep.
Derrick Jones, Jr. was the hot hand connecting on 14 of 22 shots including 5 from downtown to post 33 points and 3 blocks. Torrey Craig came off the bench to take the second slot with 25 points and 11 rebounds. In all, eight Skyforce players hit double digits.
All five Salt Lake City starters hit double digits with Diamond Stone having a perfect night at the free throw line (14-14) on the way to 30 points and 12 rebounds. Georges Niang was close behind with 27 points on the night.
Wednesday night will be the next opportunity to continue the Skyforce playoff push at Memphis. Salt Lake City is at Iowa on Saturday.