Skyforce Stay Sharp in Decisive Win over Hustle
Heading into the All-Star Break, the Sioux Falls Skyforce find themselves on a roll after smashing the Memphis Hustle 125-102 Tuesday night at the Sanford Pentagon.
For the first time this season, Sioux Falls (20-17) has won four straight games and coupled with a loss by the Oklahoma City Blue are tied at the top of the Midwest Division. In this particular contest, Memphis (15-24) hung close through the middle of the second quarter, but a 9-0 run to finish the first half was the watershed moment to spur the hosts to the victory.
Head Coach Nevada Smith praised the team’s defense and ability to penetrate the lane throughout the game.
"We attacked the rim tonight. There were those stretches where we didn't make shots so we had to change it up a little bit. We were able to get downhill and get to the rim from the point guard position. Then Matt Williams (15 points on 5 three pointers) got it going in the second half and created some space for us."
Guard Larry Drew II said the team was focused to close out the win and take nothing for granted.
"I think we knew we had put together a nice stretch of games at home. We all understood what kind of a travesty it would have been if we would have let this one get away from us. We came in at halftime, regrouped and decided to leave everything on the floor so we could make sure and get the win."
Drew II scored 14 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter as one of seven Skyforce players in double figures. Derrick Walton, Jr. finished with 22 points and despite foul trouble Kadeem Jack finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds meanwhile Derrick Jones, Jr. was close to a double-double (19 points, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals). The Hustle’s Marquis Teague led all scorers with 24 points with 7 assists, Omari Johnson scored 20 and Brice Johnson accumulated 17 points and 12 rebounds.
Next for the Skyforce will be a road contest against the South Bay Lakers on Saturday February 24 while Memphis will be at home to face Northern Arizona on Wednesday February 21.