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Wizards overcome 22 point deficit to defeat Utah

Bismarck, ND – Down by as many as 22 points, the Dakota Wizards made a furious comeback to top the Utah Flash Sunday afternoon in Bismarck. The Wizards took the floor against the Western Conference leaders just hours after surviving an up-tempo battle with rival Sioux Falls.

Utah used eight points from standout guard Dontell Jefferson to jump out to an early 22-18 lead after one quarter. The Flash were able to hold the Wizards to 5-of-16 shooting in the second frame, extending their lead to nine points at halftime.

Dakota’s shooting woes continued in the third period, where they converted only 7-of-18 field goal attempts. A Bennet Davis free throw at 2:17 of the quarter put Utah up by 22 and they looked poised to take an easy victory from the Wizards. Jason Straight scored on a layup to cut the deficit to 17 heading into the final frame.

The fourth period was all Dakota, as they outscored their opponents 32-9. A nine point run to open the quarter cut Utah’s lead to eight points before Flash head coach Brad Jones called for a timeout. The Wizards continued to chip away at Utah’s lead until Maurice Baker hit a jump shot with 34 seconds remaining to put the Wizards ahead for good. An Andre Ingram miss and two Romel Beck free throws sealed the come-from-behind win.

The Wizards had four players finish with double digits in scoring. Beck, who was red hot down the stretch, again paced Dakota on the offensive end with 20 points. Newcomer Connor Atchley had his best game as a Wizard, putting up ten points and six rebounds. Marcus Dove and Jason Straight also chipped in ten points apiece. Utah received strong performances from Dontell Jefferson and Jason Ingram, who scored 22 and 17 points respectively.

These two teams will meet again Tuesday night in Bismarck.