SIOUX FALLS, S.D., Feb. 13 -- All five starters scored in doubles figures as the Sioux Falls Skyforce snapped the Austin Toros nine-game win streak with a 94-85 victory Tuesday night at the Sioux Falls Arena.
The win improves the Skyforce’s record to 17-14 and gives them some breathing room in the race for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Division. Sioux Falls is now three games up on Austin, who drops to 14-17.
Austin has raced into playoff contention after starting the season 0-12, but the Skyforce defense slowed the Toros in the fourth. Austin entered the quarter up by six points, but a 21-5 Sioux Falls’ run put the Skyforce in control and the game out of reach.
“We were kind of forcing things and coach said we needed to slow things down,” Sioux Falls forward Jeff Varem said. “We came together and got the win.”
The duo of Varem and Frank Williams led the Skyforce as both posted 17 points. Williams added seven assists and five rebounds, while Varem collected nine rebounds and three steals.
“We caught fire at the right time,” Sioux Falls coach Mo McHone said. “Jeff Varem had a great game. It doesn’t surprise me, though. He always plays well in big games. He brings a lot of toughness to the game.”
Stephen Graham added 15 while Damone Brown and Eddy Fobbs chipped in 11 and 10, respectively.
“I liked what I saw tonight,” McHone said. “I thought Damone came out early and played well. As we went along, Stephen got himself into it late. It was an interesting game.”
The Toros and Skyforce swapped the lead throughout the game, with the Toros leading by as many as seven until the fourth quarter collapse. BJ Elder and Loren Woods led Austin scorers with 16 each. Jamar Smith and Troy Bell contributed 12 a piece and Brad Buckman added 10.