SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The Sioux Falls Skyforce (9-12) snapped a four-game home losing streak in their comeback, double-overtime win over the Northern Arizona Suns (7-13) on Friday night at the Sanford Pentagon.
Phoenix Suns two-way player Alec Peters (26 points and eight rebounds) had the hot hand early for the Suns in a back-and-forth first quarter that saw Northern Arizona take a four-point lead into the second quarter. The visitors then outscored the Skyforce 35-23 in the second quarter, as Peters knocked down six first-half three-pointers and tallied 22 first-half points as the Suns took a 67-51 lead into the break.
In the second half, it seemed as though the Suns had an answer for every Skyforce run. After trailing by as many as 18 points early in the third quarter, a Tony Mitchell (23 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists) three-pointer at the buzzer cut the deficit to just four entering the fourth.
In the fourth, Northern Arizona again jumped out to a 17-point lead, ahead of Sioux Falls 100-83 with 7:57 left in regulation. From there, Ike Nwamu and the Skyforce began to whittle away at the lead, and managed to tie the game at 108 with just 38.1 seconds left in the fourth period.
After a Tony Mitchell free throw put the home team up 109-108 with just 2.1 seconds left on the clock, the Suns ran an alley oop inbounds play to perfection, only to have Josh Gray (12 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds) throw his inbounds pass through the basket, resulting in a turnover. This, incredibly, was the second time this season an opponent has done this against the Skyforce in the closing seconds of a game.
Another Mitchell free throw put the Skyforce up 110-108, but the 1.5 seconds left on the clock was more than enough for Suns’ Shaquille Harrison (14 points and nine rebounds) to work with. Harrison caught the inbound pass, drew a foul, and converted the game-tying layup with a chance to win it at the line with 0.4 left on the clock. His free throw was off the mark.
Now in overtime, the Skyforce found themselves down by two with 7.4 seconds left on the clock. The ball was inbounded to Nwamu, who drew a foul on a three-point attempt to go to the line with just 0.9 left on the clock. After converting the first two free throws, his third failed to find its mark, and the game went to its second overtime.
After Mitchell (who scored 14 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter or in overtime) again made a pair of free throws to give the Skyforce a 120-118 lead, Sioux Falls’ defense stood tall on the final possession, blocking a Xavier Silas (23 points) three-pointer and a Mike Young (18 points) tip shot to close the game.