Heat’s Napier Helps Skyforce Past Drive

By Matt Besselsen | January 4, 2015

Sioux Falls, SD – The Sioux Falls Skyforce and the Grand Rapids Drive were back in action Sunday night as they faced each other for the third time in four days. The Skyforce were able to avoid the sweep as they defeated the Drive 106-89.

Grand Rapids (10-7) jumped on Sioux Falls (9-9) early and a jumper by Adonis Thomas saw the Drive take a 19-4 lead mid-way through the first quarter. The Skyforce began to fight back and a Henry Walker three-pointer with 4:09 remaining in the quarter gave the Skyforce a 21-19 lead, a lead they would never relinquish. The Skyforce continued to extend their lead until a L.D. Williams three-pointer stopped Sioux Falls’ 24-0 run. Sioux Falls ended the quarter on a 27-7 run and took a 31-26 lead into the second quarter. Eleven second quarter points from Tyler Johnson helped Sioux Falls extend their lead to 59-41 heading into halftime.

After halftime, the Drive revved up their engines and a Williams three-pointer cut the Skyforce lead to nine points with 3:38 left in the third quarter. A strong defensive effort from the Drive in the third quarter saw them trailing 79-68 heading into the final quarter. The Drive would again cut the Skyforce lead to nine on a Spencer Dinwiddie three-point play with 8:37 remaining but that was as close as they would get. The Skyforce outscored the Drive 16-2 over the next seven minutes en route to a 106-89 victory.

Tyler Johnson led all scorers with 25 points (10-15 FG, 4-6 3FG) to go along with six rebounds and three assists. Fuquan Edwin (22 points) and Henry Walker (20 points) both provided a spark off the bench as the Skyforce bench outscored the Drive bench 54-12 after getting outscored 48-19 in last night’s loss. Shabazz Napier, on assignment from the Miami HEAT, finished the night with eight points, a team-high seven rebounds and a team-high seven assists.

All five starters for the Drive scored in double-figures led by Spencer Dinwiddie, on assignment from the Detroit Pistons, with 22 points, five assists and four rebounds. Brandon Fields recorded 14 points and a team high nine rebounds. Adonis Thomas scored 20 points and joined Dinwiddie as the only Drive players to score 20 or more points.

The Skyforce will play the second game of their four game home stand this Friday at 7:00 against the Idaho Stampede (3-15). Grand Rapids will be back in action this Wednesday when the host the Iowa Energy (6-9).

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