Thornton, Drive Blitz Skyforce in 107-91 Victory
SIOUX FALLS, SD - The Grand Rapids Drive (21-20) never trailed and led by as many as 41 points before ultimately earning a 107-91 victory over the Sioux Falls Skyforce (23-19) on Friday night at the Sanford Pentagon.
Todd Withers (14 points) outscored the Skyforce by himself in the opening period, scoring 11 of his 14 points in the first quarter alone as Grand Rapids took a 29-9 into the first break. The rest was history as Marcus Thornton (30 points) went on to score 24 points in the third quarter alone to extinguish all hope of a Sioux Falls comeback attempt.
Detroit Pistons two-way player Isaiah Whitehead (22 points) accompanied Thornton in leading the way for Grand Rapids while Speedy Smith scored just four points but tallied a game-high 13 assists in the win.
After taking a 102-61 lead early in the fourth quarter, the Drive finally took its foot off the gas. Skyforce reserves went on to outscore the visitors 34-13 in the final period, including a 30-6 run to end the game.
DeAndre Liggins (21 points and eight rebounds) served as one of the lone bright spots for Sioux Falls in nearly 33 minutes off the bench, while Kyle Washington (10 points and five rebounds) and Gerard Tarin (six points and five rebounds) each finished a team-high plus-18 off the bench in the loss.
Miami HEAT assignee Emanuel Terry (eight points, seven rebounds and two blocks) and two-way player Yante Maten (eight points) each turned in quiet outings in a game that was never close, while Rodney Purvis tallied 10 points as one of only three Force players in double-figures on the night.
Sioux Falls now has a quick turnaround, traveling to Frisco, Texas to take on the Legends (14-28) tomorrow night at 7:30 PM CT, while the Drive continues its five-game road trip with a visit to the Erie BayHawks (18-21) on Friday, March 8 at 7:00 PM ET.
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