Skyforce 92, D-Fenders 89
EL SEGUNDO, CA – Frank Williams scored a game-high 27 points to lead the Sioux Falls Skyforce to a 92-89 victory over the Los Angeles D-Fenders, Tuesday March 17th at the STAPLES Center.
Sioux Falls snapped a four game losing streak, pulling their record back to .500 (21-21) on the season. Los Angeles (14-27) dropped their first contest against a Central Division foe at home this year.
Dwayne Mitchell sparked a fourth quarter rally for the D-Fenders scoring eight points as they pulled even with the Skyforce at 81 a piece with five minutes left on the clock. However, Williams responded for Sioux Falls with eight points of his own in the final minutes to give Sioux Falls the win.
Coming out of the halftime break with a 50-48 advantage, Sioux Falls erupted scoring the first eight points of the quarter. The Sioux Falls would extend the lead to as many as 15 before finishing the period with a nine point advantage.
Earl Barron came off the bench for Los Angeles to grab a game-high 17 rebounds to go along with 10 points. Lawrence McKenzie led three D-Fenders’ reserves (Barron and Ryan Forehan-Kelly each scored 10) in double figures with 16 points. Joe Crawford led all D-Fenders with 19 points on 8 of 12 shooting.
“This is one of the toughest teams to come in and play for;” said McKenzie. “I am still learning (the triangle offense). I was able to just play basketball, make open shots and get my teammates the ball when they were open.”
On assignment from the Charlotte Bobcats, Alexis Ajinca recorded a double-double pulling down 12 rebounds and 18 points, scoring all of his points in the first half. Williams and Ajinca paced the Skyforce in the second quarter scoring 22 of the team’s 29 points in the period.
Sioux Falls took advantage of their 46 trips to the charity stripe, hitting on 78.3% of their free throws. The D-Fenders were whistled for three technical fouls; two assessed to Gabriel Hughes, resulting in his ejection midway through the third quarter.
The D-Fenders will look to rebound as the Central Division leading Iowa Energy head to STAPLES Center on Thursday. Sioux Falls will make their second stop on the California road trip in Anaheim with a matchup with the Arsenal on Wednesday.