Sunday, January 31, 2010

A tough home loss to Sioux Falls ... what happened?

Reggie Williams from the Sioux Falls Skyforce came up and was looking over my shoulder at the final box score. I told him he'd played a good game and really tore it up in the fourth quarter. He just shook his head.

"I can't believe I fouled out," Williams said. "I think that's the first time I've ever fouled out of a game."

Williams had to look hard to find a blemish on his performance on Sunday afternoon after he and Raymond Sykes carried the Skyforce in the fourth quarter on their way to a 113-106 win. It was a big win for Sioux Falls, who came into the game 1-10 on the road and losers of their last seven away from South Dakota, and there were two big reasons for their win.

1. The run. With Tulsa holding a one-point lead late in the third quarter, Sioux Falls put together a 15-3 run to seize control. Tulsa would never get back within three points the rest of the way, thanks in large part to Sykes and Williams. Tulsa couldn't keep Sykes off the boards as he had 12 points and six rebounds in the fourth quarter. Williams, meanwhile, did what he always does ... score. He finished with a game-high 25 points, including 11 in the final period. Put Williams and Sykes together and they combined to hit 23 of the Skyforce's 35 points in the fourth quarter.

2. Free throws. Looking for a stat that jumps out? How about Sioux Falls shooting 44 free throws (making 34) and Tulsa shooting just 24 (making 18)? That's a 16-point difference at the charity stripe.

"They were aggressive throughout the game and they were rewarded for it," Tulsa head coach Nate Tibbetts said.

Sioux Falls was also aggressive on the boards, outrebounding Tulsa 45-37. How about the Skyforce's Greg Stiemsma's line on the night? Eight points, 10 rebounds, four blocks, and four assists ... a nice set of stats for the big man.

Now it's off to the road for the 66ers, starting with a pair of games against the Utah Flash. Tulsa is 2-1 against Utah this year.

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