Canton Outlasted by Sioux Falls to Force Deciding Game 3

The Canton Charge were defeated by the Sioux Falls Skyforce, 86-82, at the Sanford Pentagon in Game 2 of their best-of-three first round NBA Development League Playoff series. The two teams will remain in South Dakota for the deciding Game 3 on Monday night.

Sioux Falls went ahead 22-18 after the first quarter thanks in part to hitting 8-of-16 shots from the floor as a team (50%) and protecting the basketball for just three turnovers. Canton surrendered the ball nine times for 12 points and hit just 36% of shots in the opening stanza, but hung close by cleaning the glass for a 13-4 advantage and hitting 8-of-11 attempts from the free-throw line.

The home team maintained an advantage throughout most of the second period and continued to protect the basketball with just two turnovers. The Charge increased their offensive efficiency by hitting 9-of-15 shots in the second (60%) and seven different players getting in the scoring column, but the Skyforce took a 46-44 lead into intermission.

The third quarter continued the defensive theme with both teams shooting under 32% from the floor and turning the ball over six times each. Despite the lack of offensive output, the contest was competitive with eight lead changes and six ties in the quarter. The two teams traded scores on the final eight possessions of the third, and Sioux Falls held the 65-63 edge heading into the fourth.

The Skyforce began the fourth outscoring the Charge 8-3 to match their largest lead of the game at 73-66. Sioux Falls then surpassed the mark over the next few minutes with a series of perimeter jumpers combined with defensive stops for their largest lead of the game at 80-70 and 4:16 left.

Canton pushed the ball towards the basket to create opportunities at the rim and foul line by scoring the next six points to cut the deficit to 80-76 with 1:54 remaining. After then trading pairs of points on each end, Olek Czyz cut it to 82-80 with 59 seconds remaining on a tipped in missed free throw. Craig Smith converted a pair of freebies on the ensuing possession to put Sioux Falls back up 84-80.

Will Cherry drew contact with 40 seconds left and a chance to cut the game to a single possession, but missed both attempts from the line. Canton then got a stop and a layup in transition to make it 84-82 with 9.7 seconds left. Tre Kelly kept the comeback at bay by converting both attempts after being fouled on the inbounds play.

Antoine Agudio led Canton with 16 points, including 7-of-7 from the foul line, and a steal in 37 minutes. Arinze Onuaku scored nine points with 12 rebounds and a block in 30 minutes. Czyz finished with 12 points, five boards and a block in 21 minutes of relief. Kyrylo Fesenko added seven points, seven rebounds and four blocks in 15 minutes, while Cavaliers assignment Scotty Hopson scored seven points with five rebounds and a steal in 19 minutes.

DeAndre Liggins netted 21 points on 6-of-11 shooting with nine rebounds in 46 minutes to lead all scorers. Kelley finished with 12 points and seven assists in 41 minutes. Henry Walker contributed 10 points and eight boards in 27 minutes, while Smith added 12 points, a steal and a block in 26 minutes. Canton finished with the heavy 52-29 advantage on the glass in the game, but turned the ball over 27 total times resulting in 30 points.

The series-deciding Game 3 will be at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls on Monday, April 14 at 8:00 p.m. The 2014 Canton Charge Playoffs are presented by Aultman/AultCare, The Repository and FirstEnergy Solutions. For tickets, game day promotions and links to live stats and YouTube game streams, head to www.CantonCharge.com. Fans can sign-up to be a Charge Insider for breaking news and exclusive offers at www.CantonCharge.com/insider.

Stay up-to-date on team news by following the team at: @CantonCharge on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CantonCharge and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CantonCharge. Fans can get in the conversation throughout the teamís 2014 postseason run by using #3rdtimestheCharge.