ONTARIO, Calif. — The Sioux Falls Skyforce (6-6) were able to hold off the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario (7-6) in the closing minutes to earn a 117-112 victory on Wednesday night at the Citizens Business Bank Arena.
The Skyforce finished the first quarter on a 13-5 run, and were able to increase the lead to 63-50 over the Clippers entering the halftime break. Halftime leads have been vital for the Skyforce this season, as the team is now 4-1 when ahead at intermission, and just 2-5 when trailing.
The Skyforce remained in control throughout the third quarter, leading by as many as 16 points before the Clippers began chipping away at the lead. Agua Caliente was eventually able to retake a 98-97 lead on a Brice Johnson (10 points and nine rebounds) alley oop lay-in with 6:57 left in the game, but Sioux Falls found its three-point stroke in the closing minutes, making its final three attempts of the game, to help seal the victory.
Larry Drew II posted a monster 21-point, 13-assist, and seven rebound double-double while getting the start tonight as Miami HEAT two-way player Derrick Walton Jr. sat out of tonight’s victory. Drew II was accompanied by Tony Mitchell (23 points and 11 rebounds), who scored 14 of his 23 points in the final period alone to help guide the Skyforce to their sixth win of the season.
The Clippers were led by a game-high 28 points and nine rebounds from Tyrone Wallace, while seven different Clippers players posted double figures in the loss. Andre Dawkins followed with 13 points off the bench and managed to convert two four-point plays for Agua Caliente.
Meanwhile, it was more of the same for Denver Nuggets two-way player Torrey Craig, who posted a team-high 24 points and seven rebounds in the win. Miami HEAT assignee AJ Hammons turned in his best performance of the season, scoring 15 points and adding eight rebounds in 28 minutes off the bench, while finishing a team-high plus-17 on the night.
The Skyforce matched the Clippers’ 54 points in the paint on the night, and now improve to 5-1 when outscoring or tying their opponents in that category. Sioux Falls is just 1-5 when being outscored in the paint so far this season.