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Skyforce Downs Rival Wizards

Skyforce 105, Wizards 102 (F)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D., Feb. 14 – The Sioux Falls Skyforce improved to 11-3 at home this season with a 105-102 win against the Central Division-leading Dakota Wizards Thursday night. The second place Skyforce closed Dakota’s lead to three games in the division in the first of five meetings with the Wizards in their next six games.

The Skyforce (16-16) was led by Carl Elliott with 25 points while Elton Nesbitt added 18 points and eight assists. Michael Joiner, who started in place of injured scoring leader and D-League All-Star Kasib Powell, provided the opening spark for Sioux Falls as he scored nine of his 17 points in the first quarter.

“Our depth really showed tonight,” said Skyforce acting head coach Tony Fritz. “That was a great team effort.”

The game was tight from beginning to end as neither team held more than a six point advantage and the lead changed hands 14 times. Dakota (18-12) struggled to make shots in the first half but was able to keep it close with Sioux Falls turning the ball over 10 times. After going into the half down by four, Dakota took a one-point lead in the fourth quarter. Sioux Falls fought to a late lead and held on to survive as Tony Gipson missed a potential game-tying three in the final seconds.

D-League All-Star Carlos Powell led the way for the Wizards as he dropped 30 points, including 22 in the second half, while grabbing 12 rebounds. Will Frisby posted his second straight double-double with 16 points and a season-high 15 rebounds.

Both teams have a short break for the D-League All-Star Game on Saturday in New Orleans before meeting again on Sunday in Bismarck. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.