Sioux Falls 102, Dakota 95
SIOUX FALLS, S.D., March 1- Forward Damone Brown poured in a season-high 22 points and blocked three shots as the Sioux Falls Skyforce topped the Dakota Wizards, 102-95, at the Sioux Falls Arena Thursday.
The game pulled a close race for playoff position in the Eastern division even closer. The loss drops Dakota (19-13) into a tie with Fort Worth (19-13) for first. Sioux Falls (19-15) remains in third, but is just one game behind both teams.
"Damone got it going early," Sioux Falls coach Nate Tibbetts said. "I think he's going to just continue to get better as he gets his legs under him and gets in shape."
Stephen Graham contributed another solid night for the Skyforce with 20 points and seven rebounds. Amir Johnson, on assignment from the Detroit Pistons, and Eddy Fobbs both had 12. Fobbs grabbed eight rebounds but stepped up on the defensive side of the ball also with five blocked shots.
"Eddy Fobbs in the fourth quarter came up with some huge defensive plays," Tibbetts said. "Probably on their last six possessions, he had three blocks and that was huge for us."
The Skyforce shot just 48 percent (32-66) from the floor, but took advantage of 36 Dakota fouls by connecting on 34-of-47 (72 percent) free-throw attempts.
"I think we've been playing together well," Fobbs said. "We don't have anybody selfish on the team. Everybody can score but nobody is selfish."
Rod Benson led Dakota scorers with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Corey Williams, recently waived by the Skyforce, added 15 while Chris McCray and Renaldo Major both had 14.
The win marks a first as Tibbetts filled in for Skyforce head coach Mo McHone. McHone is absent to attend funeral services for Dennis Johnson.
"It's hard to be excited for this opportunity," Tibbetts said. "I had mixed emotions. I'm just glad we came out of it with a victory."
Sioux Falls faces the Bakersfield Jam Saturday night at 7 p.m. at the Sioux Falls Arena.