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Skyforce Roll Past Thunderbirds

Skyforce 108, T-Birds 95

SIOUX FALLS, S.D., Mar. 27 – The Sioux Falls Skyforce recorded 15 steals and forced 19 turnovers in a 108-95 victory over the Albuquerque Thunderbirds Friday night at the Sioux Falls Arena. The victory moves the Skyforce closer to the fifth and final place in the NBA D-League wild card race.

The Skyforce (23-22) controlled the pace of the game from the beginning, outscoring the Thunderbirds 36-13 in the first quarter. Sioux Falls led by as many as 28 points in the first half and only committed three turnovers to Albuquerque’s 11.

The Thunderbirds (22-21) climbed back to within 13 in the fourth quarter, but the Skyforce turned up the defense again and closed the door.

“Our defense was the best its been in a long time,” Skyforce head coach Nate Tibbetts said. “We came out with a lot of energy. Albuquerque is a team that we’re chasing for the playoff push and that was probably the best first half we’ve played all year.”

Kasib Powell paced the Skyforce with season highs in points (26) and assists (9). David Bailey added 24 points, including 4-of-8 from 3-point range. Bobby Jones contributed 17 points and Chris Ellis recorded his sixth double-double on the season with 15 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

Leading the Thunderbirds was Antoine Agudio with 21 points and Will Conroy added 19.

The Skyforce will host the Austin Toros tomorrow night at 7 p.m. CT. The Thunderbirds will head to Bismarck, N.D. where they will take on the Dakota Wizards on Sunday at 7 p.m. CT.