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Christmas Day Marathon Ends with Skyforce Win in 2OT

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A gift of peace and joy from a game that seemed to be everlasting went the Sioux Falls Skyforce who defeated the Northern Arizona Suns 96-94 in double overtime.

Sioux Falls (13-3) clamped down on the Suns (10-6) in the fourth quarter to erase a 7-point deficit and force the extra session. The first overtime each team converted two free throws apiece to force a second extra session.

Head Coach Nevada Smith said the game was by no means perfect, but the team persevered.

“It wasn’t pretty. We had a lot of guys log a lot of minutes. They made enough plays (including) the last play to win.”

That last play was a pull-up jumper in the lane by Okaro White to break a 94-94 tie.

“We wanted him to get the ball. It was a great move and he was able to finish,” added Smith.

Briante Weber had his third triple-double of the season in the win which was accomplished in regulation. Weber said the lively Christmas Day crowd helped carry the team to victory.

“This is one of the games you would love to play in. Christmas Day, only game in the league, great crowd, double overtime game and win by two. How else do you want it to pan out? It was a perfect setting.”

Weber’s official line was 24 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists which gives him 4 career triple doubles, the most by a single player in Skyforce franchise history. Keith Benson’s 25 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks were also instrumental in the win which also extends a franchise record 18-game regular season home winning streak.

For the Suns, Elijah Millsap ended with 24 points and 12 rebounds and Josh Gray was next with 19 points. Sioux Falls heads to the west coast for their next adventure Tuesday night against Santa Cruz. Coincidentally, Northern Arizona will also play at Santa Cruz but not until Thursday.

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