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Wizards Mystify Skyforce

Dakota 99, Skyforce 88

BISMARCK, Jan. 9 -- Wizard guards Maurice Baker and Dontell Jefferson both flirted with triple-doubles to help Dakota past Central Division foe Sioux Falls Skyforce on Wednesday 99-88 at the Bismarck Civic Center.

Baker, who finished with 27 points while grabbing 11 boards and seven assists led all scores and gave the Wizards the spark they needed from the beginning.  Sioux Falls got within six in the fourth quarter 75-69 on a three pointer by Jahsha Bluntt with a little over nine minutes remaining in the battle.

Jefferson then took matters into his own hands spearheading a 14-2 Wizards run. During the run, Jefferson scored 10 points in under two minutes and finished the night with 18 points, 11 boards and seven assists.

“It was just a grinder tonight,” said Wizards Head Coach Duane Ticknor. “Both teams struggled to find a rhythm tonight, but it’s a great win for us at home against a division rival. With six more games in the next week and a half this is a good start”.

The Skyforce found themselves in foul trouble early in the match up, which proved to be the writing on the wall for Sioux Falls who finished the game shooting 57 % from the line to the Wizards 78 %. Wizards controlled the paint out rebounding the Skyforce 58-40.

Sioux Falls, now 7-11 on the season were led in scoring by forward Kasib Powell with 20 points and seven boards, while guard Elton Nesbitt netted 17 on the night and dished four assists. Center Jason Klotz who did not play much in the 2nd half due to foul trouble did foul out late in the fourth but finished with 13 points seven boards.

Dakota moves to 10-7 on the season and were led in rebounding by center Kevin Lyde who grabbed a double double pulling down 17 boards while nailing 10 points. Forward Will Frisby also had a season high 15 points in the win, clutching seven rebounds.

The Wizards return to action on Friday as they face yet another divisional rival in the Iowa Energy. Dakota will face the Energy three times in four days in three different cities ending in Boise Idaho at the NBA Development League Showcase on Monday. Sioux Falls heads down south as they match up with the Bakersfield Jam on Friday and then Los Angeles on Sunday before heading to Boise for the Showcase.