SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The Sioux Falls Skyforce (3-1) jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter, and for the second night in a row, never trailed their opponent in the 119-109 win over the Salt Lake City Stars (0-4).
The Skyforce jumped out to an 18-point lead in the first quarter, but the Stars cut the deficit to just a single point early in the second quarter before Sioux Falls managed to pull away again entering halftime. Erik McCree scored 19 of his 24 total points in the first half alone to keep the Skyforce on top.
After leading by 18 at halftime, the Skyforce nearly surrendered the lead late in the third quarter as Salt Lake City made yet another run, cutting the deficit to just two points, but a small-ball lineup that featured Tony Mitchell (25 points and seven rebounds) at the center position propelled Sioux Falls to victory down the stretch.
Miami HEAT two-way sharpshooter Matt Williams Jr. was finally able to take the lid off the basket, scoring 18 points on 7-11 FG, and converting on 4-of-6 attempts from long range, marking his first double-digit scoring performance of the season.
Utah Jazz two-way player Eric Griffin (19 points, six rebounds and five blocks) and a pair of 20-point scorers off the bench in Naz Mitrou-Long (26 points and seven rebounds) and Torian Graham (23 points) led the way in the loss for the Stars.
South Dakota native and Utah Jazz two-way player Nate Wolters (seven points, eight assists and four rebounds) was held in check for the majority of the night, while NDSU grad and former Summit League player Taylor Braun pitched in 13 points in the loss.
The Skyforce shot 50 percent from the field, and 41.5 percent from long range, marking the first time they’ve achieved a 50-40 game from the field on the season. Larry Drew II (13 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds) neared a triple-double yet again, this time finishing just one rebound shy.
Last but not least, Denver Nuggets two-way player Torrey Craig started his second-consecutive game, and turned in another solid performance, scoring 19 points and adding seven rebounds and two blocks in the win for Sioux Falls.