SPRINGFIELD, MA- The Springfield Armor (14-13) took the lead shortly after the opening tip tonight and never trailed, defeating the Sioux Falls Skyforce (7-20) 103-96 inside the MassMutual Center.
The Armor and Skyforce traded baskets early, but a JamesOn Curry three-pointer at the 8:04 mark of the first quarter broke a 6-6 tie, as the Skyforce would never come closer.
Springfield shot 15-26 (57.7%) from the field in the first quarter and took a 33-26 lead after one. The Armor extended the advantage to 59-46 by halftime, with Jerry Smith (14 points), L.D. Williams (12 points), JamesOn Curry (10 points) and Jeff Foote (10 points) scoring in double figures to fuel the Armor on the offensive end.
The Skyforce kept things close in the third quarter, trimming the deficit to just six points with 3:41 to play in the period, but a 12-4 Armor run to close the quarter increased the lead to 80-68 after three.
In the fourth, Sioux Falls trailed by as many as 14 points and despite cutting the lead to seven in the waning stages of the quarter, the Armor held on for the victory.
Five players scored in double figures tonight for the Armor, led by a stellar performance from guard Jerry Smith. Smith registered his second double-double of the season, scoring a game-high 27 points and snaring a team-high 11 rebounds to pace the home team. Smith scored 14 points, grabbed 8 rebounds and dished out 4 assists in the first half alone.
Foote contributed 19 points, Williams added 17 points, 5 rebounds and 4 steals and Curry chipped in with 15 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. The Armor also got a major boost off the bench from Lance Hurdle, as the guard tallied 16 points in 19 minutes.
The quintet of Smith, Foote, Williams, Curry and Hurdle combined to score 94 of the teamís 103 points.
The Armor dished out 20 assists tonight and tied their season-low by committing just 10 turnovers. Defensively, the Armor held the Skyforce to 39.8% shooting from the field, the third lowest opponentís field goal percentage this season.
The Skyforce also had five players scored in double figures tonight, led by Gabe Pruittís 19-point, 10-assist performance. Keith Benson posted a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds and Trey Gilder (18 points), Anthony Mason, Jr. (16 points) and Charles Garcia (10 points) also finished in double figures.
Sioux Falls struggled to find its range from behind the arc tonight, shooting just 1-16 (6.3%) from three-point territory. The Skyforce stayed within striking distance by burying 25-32 (78.1%) from the foul line and out-rebounding the Armor 51-39.
The Armor and Skyforce will do battle again tomorrow night, with the two teams squaring off at 7:00 PM inside the MassMutual Center.