Thunderbirds 111, Skyforce 104
SIOUX FALLS, S.D., Dec. 29 -- Friday was a night of streaks as Albuquerque
used a 111-104 victory over the Skyforce at the Sioux Falls Arena to end their
four-game losing streak and Sioux Falls' six-game home win streak.
"We wanted to get off this slide," Albuquerque Thunderbirds head
coach Michael Cooper said. "We got a big game tomorrow in Fort Worth. This
is a good one to win so we can hopefully catapult ourselves into some winning
The game was back and forth with 22 ties and 25 lead changes in the first three
periods. Forward Dijon Thompson helped propel the Thunderbirds to a 6-0 run
early in the fourth as Albuquerque took the lead and never looked back. Thompson
led the Thunderbirds with 25 points and nine rebounds. Albuquerque forward Duane
Erwin recorded a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds in a game that
was slowed by 34 foul calls on the Thunderbirds. Albuquerque leads the league
in that category.
"You never want to lead the league in that," Cooper said. "That's
the way they were called though. We're going to keep playing."
Sioux Falls, however, couldn't capitalize on all the calls as the Skyforce
went 55 percent (24-of-43) from the charity stripe.
"You can see fatigue," Sioux Falls Skyforce head coach Mo McHone
said. "Fatigue usually shows up in missed free throws."
Sioux Falls, who played on Christmas day and Thursday night, was led by forward
Andre Brown with 22 points and seven rebounds. Forward Jeff Varem chipped in
16 points and 10 rebounds in a game that saw neither team pull away early. The
Thunderbirds biggest lead until the fourth quarter was six in the second. Albuquerque
center Manual Narvaez's inside presence in the quarter complimented Thompson's
outside shooting. Both contributed six in the quarter to help the Thunderbirds
take a 56-53 advantage at halftime.
The Skyforce tips off against Tulsa Friday at 7 p.m., while Fort Worth hosts
Albuquerque at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.