Tulsa 66ers Surge Dooms Sioux Falls Skyforce [VIDEO]
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With 4 new players in their lineup, the Sioux Falls Skyforce were destined to be improved after last week’s two game sweep at the hands of the Tulsa 66ers. However, a late game shooting drought and a crucial Skyforce turnover sent the 66ers into the sunset with a 102-99 win.
A comfortable lead for most of the game evaporated in the blink of an eye as two straight from downtown by Mychel Thompson and one by Seth Tarver put Sioux Falls (21-15) up 94-80 with 6:10 left. Tulsa (21-15) then took the liberty of scoring the next 14 points on their home floor to tie the game. Damian Saunders put the Skyforce back up with a couple of free throws then James Mays hit a tough shot in the lane with a foul to go up 5 with under a minute left. Rasual Butler of the 66ers drove unimpeded to the basket to make it a three point game with 48.4 seconds left.
One score would have likely meant victory on the next Sioux Falls possession, but with the shot clock ticking away Saunders missed a three from the right wing off an inbounds pass and Tulsa countered with another Butler score to cut the lead to one. By now the shot clock is off and the next task is to get the ball across half court and wait to get fouled. Tulsa sprung the trap on Demetris Nichols and stole the ball with Butler again providing the points. There was still a chance with 10.3 seconds left, but Andre Barrett came up empty and the home team grabbed a crucial home win and season series victory. With four teams fighting for the top spot in the NBA Development League Central Division, a game like this could mean the difference between picking an opponent in the playoffs or being the chosen.
James Mays led the Skyforce in scoring and rebounding with 18 and 11 respectively while Jarvis Varnado returned on assignment from the Miami Heat with 10 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocked shots. Perry Jones III led Tulsa with 21 points and 7 rebounds on his assignment from the Oklahoma City Thunder and Rasual Butler put up 14 in a bench role. Not much time to chew on this one for Sioux Falls as they turn back to Texas and head back to Austin for a Sunday late afternoon scrum. Tulsa meanwhile, will rest until Thursday for a home date with Iowa.