Skyforce Snap Skid With Win Over Warriors
First off, the result was a 99-83 win for the Sioux Falls Skyforce (11-10) over the Santa Cruz Warriors (11-7). In the subtext is a lost geographic rival in the Dakota Wizards with their move from Bismark, North Dakota to Santa Cruz California.
However, some of the players remain from the old days including one Maurice Baker. Around the league, Baker stands as one of those players who have excelled in the NBA Development League. Baker has tormented numerous minor league teams while getting just a taste of success in the NBA. Still he brings the effort that led the former Wizards to a pile of wins including a fair share as a visitor to the Sioux Falls Arena.
The color of his jersey and the name on the front is different, but Mo Baker was the same old stalwart as he had his best game of the season. Unfortunately, substandard described most of the rest of the Warriors as the Skyforce led the whole game and by as many as 26 points midway through the third quarter. Demetris Nichols was hitting from everywhere and Dexter Pittman was protecting the paint as the Warriors struggled to shoot even 35 percent from the floor.
Then as if drawing strength from a familiar source from somewhere in the building, Baker spearheaded an almost improbable comeback. The Warriors went on a 27-9 run to close out the third stanza to trail 72-64. The score eventually became 74-71 with the Warriors in possession. Baker drove the lane and kicked out to a wide open teammate, but in the process bowled over Gabe Pruitt and was called for the offensive foul. Sioux Falls eventually rode out the final 10 minutes to get their first win of the 5-game homestand.
Mo Baker finished 9-13 shooting from the floor and tallied 20 points for the Warriors. Leading scorer for the visitors was Dan Nwaelele who scored a season high 21. For the Skyforce Demetris Nichols hit his first 7 shots and finished with a season high of his own with 26 points with Dexter Pittman scoring 15 grabbing 12 boards and blocking 6 shots. Mychel Thompson got his first start since joining the Skyforce and contributed 13 points.
Santa Cruz will play one more on the road Wednesday night in Iowa before heading back to the West Coast to face the L. A. D-Fenders on Friday. The Skyforce have two more home games this weekend with the Texas Legends to cap the homestand.