SIOUX FALLS, SD — The Sioux Falls Skyforce (27-20) shot 56 percent from the field and 45 percent from three-point range on their way to a 129-120 victory over the Northern Arizona Suns (22-26).
The game was tied early on, but Sioux Falls finished the first quarter on a 13-1 run, taking a 35-28 lead into the break. Denver Nuggets assignee Malik Beasley scored 12 of his 18 points in the first half to pace the Skyforce to a 72-60 lead.
The Skyforce at one point held a 20-point lead in the third quarter only to see it get as close as five points, before crucial free throws down the stretch allowed Sioux Falls earn the victory. The Skyforce shot 18 of 24 from the free throw line in the game, making a perfect 7 of 7 in the final period.
Six Skyforce players scored in double-digits, as Greg Whittington led with 23 points and eight rebounds. Keith Benson recorded his league-leading 30th double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Bubu Palo (20 points and eight assists), Patrick Miller (22 points, four rebounds and three assists), and Ike Nwamu (16 points and five rebounds) rounded out the majority of the scoring for Sioux Falls.
Sioux Falls outscored Northern Arizona by a margin of 60-40 in the paint, and tallied 35 assists as a team led by Larry Drew II (13 assists) who notched nine assists without attempting a field goal in the first half alone.
Elijah Millsap (24 points), Shaquille Harrison (22 points), and Josh Gray (20 points) led the way for the Suns in the loss. Washington Wizards assignee Chris McCullough scored 13 points and collected five rebounds off the bench, and Alex Davis (11 points) and Askia Booker (16 points) rounded out the double-digit scoring for Northern Arizona.
The Skyforce were plagued by turnovers throughout the night, allowing 28 points off of 22 turnovers, but were able to overcome their mistakes in the win. Sioux Falls also outrebounded the Suns 47-32, improving to 21-2 in games in which they have outrebounded their opponents.
The Skyforce were able to stay within reach of the 2017 playoffs, and need to win their final three games and receive help from the Santa Cruz Warriors (29-19) to sneak their way in. Sioux Falls needs to finish with a better overall record than the Warriors, as they would lose all tie-breaker scenarios.