Basketball is a game of runs, but it seemed in the Sioux Falls Skyforce 123-113 win over the South Bay Lakers an answer was always available.

For Sioux Falls (21-17) that answer was usually Miami 2-way player Derrick Jones, Jr. who scored 24 of his 30 points in the second half. South Bay (24-15) had their counterpoint in Gary Payton II who led the Lakers with 26 for the game.

Miami Heat guard Rodney McGruder made an impact in his first game action since having surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left tibia. He scored 16 points with 5 rebounds in just over 20 minutes of action.

All five Skyforce starters plus reserve Tony Mitchell scored at least 11 points. Derrick Walton, Jr. who is also on a 2-way, had 18 points and led the team in assists with 6. Additionally Briante Weber had 5 steals and Kadeem Jack grabbed 13 rebounds.

Three of those McGruder boards were on the offensive glass which were instrumental in the Skyforce triumph. The 17 total offensive rebounds were one short of a season high for the team.

Both teams laid claim to some trouble spots with South Bay turnovers and Skyforce shooting rate well behind the pace of the opponent. The Lakers coughed it up 21 times to 11 for Sioux Falls and both teams made 46 shots from the floor but the visitors put up 19 more shots to do it.

The ‘Force welcomed back not just McGruder, but also center Jimmie Taylor who had been sidelined with a hand injury for multiple weeks. Both teams are also missing vital players who are competing for USA Basketball in the FIBA qualifying as the Lakers’ Travis Wear and the Skyforce have Alonzo Gee and Larry Drew II serving in that capacity.

Sioux Falls is back on court Monday facing the Agua Caliente Clippers and South Bay goes back-to-back on Sunday with Santa Cruz in game two of a six-game homestand.


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