Dakota 115, Sioux Falls 113
BISMARCK N.D., April 21, 2007 – The Dakota Wizards rallied in the fourth quarter to beat the Sioux Falls Skyforce 115-113 in a raucous Bismarck Civic Center. Nearly 4,000 fans watched the Wizards trail for much of the game, but with the help of forward Renaldo Major’s team high 29 points and nine rebounds, the Wizards wrapped up the Eastern Division title in their first season in the D-League.
“This never gets old”, said head coach Dave Joerger. “Our guys played hard tonight, we came out really slow. But, I’m proud of our guys, they fed off the energy of the crowd and we just started chipping away”.
Sioux Falls started the night hot from behind the three-point arc, connecting on 8-of-18 shooting from downtown to build a 63-53 lead at the half. Guard Frank Williams paced the Skyforce with 19 points in the first half, including 5 of 9 from behind the arc.
While Sioux Falls built its lead from the three-point line, the Wizards used the charity stripe to cut into the Skyforce lead. Both teams were nearly automatic from the free throw line shooting over 80 percent. Sioux Falls shot 16-of-20 from the line, but the Wizards went to the line more often connecting on 36-of-43 attempts, including 27-of-33 in the second half. The Skyforce missed guard Frank Williams down the stretch as he fouled out with over four minutes left to go, but finished the contest with a game high 30 points.
Wizards forward Quemont Greer grabbed 10 rebounds and scored 26 points, 22 of them coming in the first half. Guard Chris McCray scored 17 of the bench, including a huge three pointer as the shot clock nearly expired with just under a minute left in the game to give the Wizards a 110 – 107 advantage.
The game was back and forth all night and Skyforce guard Stephen Graham answered with a three of his own, giving him 15 points on the night and evened the score at 110 all. The Wizards hit 3 of 4 free throws and added a Dontell Jefferson dunk to build a five point advantage. Skyforce forward Demone Brown’s three at the buzzer was not enough as the Wizards clinched the Eastern Division title.