GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Sioux Falls Skyforce (8-2) overcame a six-point halftime deficit to beat the Grand Rapids Drive (4-6) on the road by a 111-105 score on Wednesday night. It was the Skyforce’s fourth win a row and the Drive’s third consecutive loss.
Akaro White and Keith Benson took advantage of the Drive’s depleted frontcourt for Sioux Falls, as they combined for 33 efficient points and Benson had 11 rebounds. Jabril Trawick added 15 points off the bench and point guard Briante Weber had a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds, also dishing five assists.
Kevin Murphy rode a three-point outburst in the fourth quarter to 33 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Drive, Ray McCallum registered 24 points, five rebounds and seven assists and Zeke Upshaw had a season-high 23 points with seven rebounds. It is the third time this season Murphy has scored 33 points.
The Skyforce jumped out to a 13-6 opening lead, but their offense stalled for the remainder of the quarter and they led by just two at the end of the first. The Drive were constantly at the free-throw line in the second quarter, getting efficient baskets and gaining a six-point lead at the half.
But it was all Sioux Falls from there, as the Drive continued their season-long struggles with the second half of games. The Skyforce began the second half on a 22-9 run, scoring those 22 points in just five and a half minutes. The final tally was a 40-19 third quarter advantage, the most points the Drive have allowed in the third quarter all year and the second-fewest amount of points they have scored.
Grand Rapids showed signs of fatigue, as the Drive were down to just eight players for the game with Nikola Jovanovic still inactive and Jordan Crawford and Pat Forsythe getting DNP-CDs. The Drive cut the lead down to single digits several times in the fourth, but the lead was never lower than eight until the final seconds.
The Skyforce were lethal from beyond the arc, connecting on 43 percent of their attempts, while it took a late spree by Grand Rapids to keep them from shooting under 30 percent from deep for the second consecutive game. The Drive’s free-throw advantage (34 attempts to Sioux Falls’ 27) was not enough to make up for it.