Skyforce Use Hustle and Muscle in Double Digit Win Over Idaho
An aggressive Sioux Falls Skyforce attack helped thwart a road-weary Idaho Stampede squad 111-96 on Friday night at the Sanford Pentagon with 2,772 on hand.
Two key statistics bear out the success of the plan. Sioux Falls (10-9) outscored Idaho (4-17) on the fast break 33-14 and the ‘Force shot 36 free throws to the Stampede’s 13. That willingness to be brave when possessing the ball helped support a shaky three point effort. Defensive aggression led to a 45-39 Skyforce advantage on the boards and 12 blocked shots.
Khem Birch wiped out 5 Stampede shot attempts and says his revised role will help in the long run. “Coach (Weber) wants me to be a more energized player and protect the rim. It helps us get wins.” The goal is to be efficient as a prelude to how an NBA role would actually play out. “Coming off the bench (in Sioux Falls) helps prepare me for the next level.” Birch supplemented his defensive prowess with 8 points and 8 rebounds.
Shawn Jones scored a career high 23 points and nabbed 11 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season. His performance is worth a look up top. Fuquan Edwin was right behind with 22 points while Larry Drew II posted double-double number 8 this season with 10 points and 13 assists. Henry Walker led the bench brigade with 16 counters. Edwin's night also can be accessed below.
Idaho gamely fought hard under the circumstances after flight delays prevented the Stampede from arriving in Sioux Falls until mid-afternoon. Forward Joel Wright connected for 21 points. Shane Gibson added 20 with Jack Cooley returning from a hand injury suffered in Idaho’s first game this season to contribute 9 points and 10 rebounds.
Sioux Falls will return to the court Saturday night as the Los Angeles D-Fenders arrive fresh from a 118-109 loss to the Texas Legends. Meanwhile Idaho can enjoy the bus ride to Des Moines as they will lock up with the Iowa Energy on Sunday.