The ability to finish quarters served the Sioux Falls Skyforce well to win an opening night 120-116 thriller over the Memphis Hustle at Landers Center Saturday night in the newly branded NBA G League.

After four minutes, Memphis (0-1) had stormed out to a 16-4 lead. The lead swelled to 26-8 just past the halfway mark of the first quarter before the ‘Force ended the period trailing by 9.

A similar pattern continued through the second and third frames with the Hustle holding a double digit advantage through much of the game. At 5:50 left in the third the score was 79-63 when the momentum took a turn for the visitors.

By the 9:49 mark of quarter number four, Sioux Falls had blitzed the Hustle with a 39-12 run in the process of taking the lead. Memphis cut the margin to a single point three times in the last three and a half minutes, but the Skyforce prevailed.

For the Skyforce, four players scored at least 20 led by Erik McCree with 29 tallies, Torrey Craig with 24 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals, Tony Mitchell with 21 points with 7 rebounds and Ike Nwamu had 20 counters off the bench. Larry Drew II added 11 assists.

Memphis had a similar spread at the top of the scoring chart with Kobi Simmons producing 25 points, Vincent Hunter with 23 points, Ivan Rabb 20 points and 15 rebounds while Marquis Teague added 19 points, 7 rebounds plus 7 assists.

Both teams will be back on the hardwood soon. Memphis hosts Salt Lake City on Sunday while Sioux Falls is at home to meet the Lakeland Magic on Monday.


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