More Guts Than Glory in Sioux Falls Skyforce Victory
There would be no excuses on a Sunday night as the Sioux Falls Skyforce willed their way to a 107-97 win over the Erie BayHawks before a paid attendance of 3,045 at the Sanford Pentagon.
A 6-0 lead stood up for the Skyforce (18-11) as the outcome was in doubt throughout. Erie (9-22) closed to within two points near the end of the third quarter and had a chance to tie with a C.J. Leslie baseline jumper. The shot bounced away and former BayHawk Alex Oriakhi grabbed the rebound. Lots of body blows landed in this one and Sioux Falls landed the most combinations. The knockout arrived in the form of a Tre Kelley 3 pointer with 34 seconds left to push the lead to nine.
Skyforce Coach Pat Delany wanted the team to bounce back from a draining game in Fort Wayne the night before. “We got some good looks around the rim and from behind the arc and they weren’t going. Our body language and our demeanor had a look of defeat (against the Mad Ants).” Those issues were addressed and the players responded accordingly. Especially considering the aforementioned Oriakhi and Tajuan Porter had little bonding time as new acquisitions this week.
Justin Hamilton finished with a command performance of 26 points and 11 rebounds and 2 blocks to lead Sioux Falls as Larry Drew II notched a career high 23 points with 7 assists. View the clip below to see Hamilton, Drew do their damage and a serious shooter’s roll.
Alex Oriakhi scored 13 in his second game with his new team without the benefit of practice. “As soon as I landed in Fort Wayne (Saturday), I came right to the arena, played. Then we had to wake up at 4:30 and got back (to Sioux Falls) around 10:30 and just rested up for the game.” Plus the feeling was a bit surreal to play against the team who traded him. “I was literally with these guys three days ago, so I was really pumped for this game. These are guys (Erie) I’ve been with for two months you almost call your brothers, but when you get traded it’s part of the business.”
Leading Erie was 12-year NBA veteran Ricky Davis with 19 points, C.J. Leslie with 18 and Lewis Jackson who was in Skyforce fall camp but waived before the season posted 14 points and 10 assists. Both teams will be back on the court as Sioux Falls will host the Eastern Division leading Canton Charge and Erie will continue their road swing at Delaware.