Sevens Let One Slip Away Late
Newark, DE- February 28, 2014- The Delaware 87ers welcomed the Sioux Falls Skyforce to the Bob Carpenter Center Friday night, with a chance to win their third straight, but lost a close game in the final minutes (108-118).
The Sevens had not played in 6 days, since their impressive 22 point road victory over the Erie Bayhwaks, but did not appear to be rusty once the game started as each team traded buckets early. The quarter ended with the 87ers trailing by 1 point (25-26) and starting guard Vander Blue scoring almost half their points with 14.
The Skyforce opened the 2nd quarter on a 12-2 run increasing their lead to 9 points (27-38). The Sevens hung in the game and were able to stay close despite a bench that could not buy a bucket and only trailed by 2 points at halftime (53-55).
The 87ers entire offensive production in the first half came from the starting five as the bench shot 0-11FG and guard Vander Blue led the way with 21 points. Blue was high scorer for the game with 35 points shooting 50% from the floor on 12-24FG and was one of three Sevens starters to record a double-double pulling down 11 boards.
Similar to the 2nd quarter the Skyforce jumped on the 87ers early in the 3rd scoring 5 unanswered points stretching their lead to 7 (53-60). The Sevens responded quickly as starting forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo drained a 3FG while being fouled and converted the 4 point. Antetokounmpo was one of the other starters to get a double-double in the loss scoring 19 points and grabbing 13 off the glass.
In a game that had 12 lead changes and 5 ties the score remained tight down to the waning minutes of the 4th quarter.
With just over 4 minutes remaining Vander Blue had the drive of the game when he shed his defender with a fake behind the back pass giving himself an open lane to lay one in off the glass, cutting their deficit to 2 points (100-102). After an alley-oop tied the game, the Sevens made a key stop on defense and Antetokounmpo hustled down the floor for a put back layup the gave the 87ers their first lead of the 4th (104-102)
The game appeared to be in hand for the 87ers but in the final 2 minutes the Skyforce came on strong and Delaware unraveled getting outscored 16-4 to lose (118-108). With 33.1 seconds remaining in a physical game the Delaware 87ers were called for both a technical and a flagrant foul and put the game out of reach as the Skyforce sank their free throws.
Sevens starting guard Bo Spencer followed his terrific 43 point effort last game coming one assist shy of a triple-double with 15 points, 10 assists, and 9 rebounds. Starting forward Tiny Gallon rounded out the majority of the Sevens offensive production scoring 20 points and pulling down 7 rebounds.
Unlike the 87ers the Skyforce bench was able to contribute offensively as the team had 7 players score in double-digits. Leading the team in scoring and coming off the bench was A.J. Davis who had 24 points and 8 boards. Starting guard Tre Kelley added 23 points, 6 assists, and 5 boards while the man in the middle Justin Hamilton scored 20 and grabbed 9 off the glass to come one rebound shy of a double-double.