SIOUX FALLS, S.D., Nov. 30 – Andre Brown proved he was worth the Skyforce’s first overall pick as he scored Sioux Falls’ final nine points Thursday to help the team notch their first victory of the season with a 98-97 win over the Idaho Stampede at the Sioux Falls Arena.
The Skyforce forward finished with a team-high 20 points and eight rebounds but almost ruined his own coming-out party after fouling out with 0.2 seconds left and giving Stampede center Peter Ramos a chance to tie the game. Ramos, who carried Idaho (0-4) with 15 second-half points, made his first free throw. His second circled the rim before Skyforce center Joe Dabbert knocked it off to secure the win.
“I’m glad Joe didn’t listen to me at the end of the game,” Sioux Falls Skyforce head coach Mo McHone said. “They asked if it was on the rim, should they take it off, and I honestly thought you couldn’t take it off. I told them no, but Joe knocked it off. I didn’t know the rule. Thank god Joe did. He made a heads up play.”
The Skyforce (1-2) won the back-and-forth contest by capitalizing on 14 Idaho turnovers in the second half. Forward Eddie Robinson led the Stampede with 23 points to give Idaho a 72-68 lead at the end of the third. Ramos scored 11 in the fourth in a game that featured 17 lead changes in the second half, but Idaho let the game slip away.
“We’ve gone through lapses where we just don’t stop anybody,” Idaho Stampede head coach Bryan Gates said. “It was a back-and-forth game from 75 to 90. Nobody could stop anybody.”
It was a tale of two quarters in the first half. The Skyforce jumped out to an early seven-point lead in the first quarter behind the balanced attack of Williams and Whitehead. Both contributed eight points in the first half. Sioux Falls found an advantage inside behind Brown, who contributed four points and seven rebounds.
A 22-21 Skyforce lead at the end of the first quickly turned into an Idaho six-point advantage in the second quarter. Idaho guard David Jackson posted nine first-half points thanks in part to seven Skyforce turnovers. Sioux Falls battled back but shot clock violations and defensive three second calls allowed the Stampede to take a 47-46 advantage to the locker room.
The Skyforce will play host to Idaho again tomorrow night.