Sioux Falls 111, Austin 97
SIOUX FALLS, S.D., March 18 – Amir Johnson racked up 21 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks Sunday night to lead the Sioux Falls Skyforce to a 111-97 victory over the Austin Toros at the Sioux Falls Arena.
The win helps Sioux Falls (25-16) keep pace with the Forth Worth Flyers and Dakota Wizards in the battle for the Eastern division playoffs. The Skyforce entered the night just a half game behind the Wizards for first place. Austin falls to 16-21 on the year.
“As a coach, it’s fun to watch,” Sioux Falls coach Mo McHone said. “I’m having fun watching them because there’s not a lot of coaching going on because these guys are just coaching themselves and playing.”
Johnson, on assignment from the Detroit Pistons, had plenty of help as six Skyforce players scored in double figures. Damone Brown posted a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Frank Williams added 18, going 4-of-8 from behind the arc, while Stephen Graham and Jeff Varem had 15 and 11, respectively. Robert Hite came off the bench with 17. The Skyforce also amassed 29 assists.
“Any time you have 29 assists, you know you have a team that’s playing well together,” McHone said. “All 10 guys we have on our team right now, I feel comfortable putting in the game.”
Sioux Falls held a narrow edge most of the first half until a 15-3 run to close the second put the Skyforce in control. A 12-2 run to start the third put the game out of reach as Sioux Falls cruised.
BJ Elder and Justin Bowen both contributed 16 points to lead the way for Austin. Cheyne Gadson added 14, Jamar Smith had 13 and Marcus Campbell finished with 12.