Polarizing Series Goes to Game 3 Between Sioux Falls Skyforce and Canton Charge
A couple ghosts from roundball’s past were exorcised at the Sanford Pentagon Saturday night. In the process, Sioux Falls stays alive after a grinding 86-82 win over the Canton Charge.
One of the spirits wafting through the crowd of 2,374 was the playoff basketball style once displayed by the New York Knicks and Miami Heat circa 1999. Though Jeff Van Gundy didn’t rush the court to grab onto P.J. Brown’s leg, defensive grit was once again king of the court. The Skyforce shot 37 percent from the floor and won. Late third quarter the score was tied at 55. Potential technical fouls outnumbered the actual number by a 3:1 ratio. Where’s John Starks when you need him?
The other supernatural component appeared as a demon to Canton with DeAndre Liggins reprising his role as 3 point marksman. One year ago as a member of the Tulsa 66ers, Liggins hit 5 from downtown to send the Charge to the offseason. This time wearing a Skyforce jersey, Liggins sank 6 from deep with 21 points overall with 9 rebounds to save Sioux Falls from getting swept. Instead the series is tied at 1-1 with the deciding game set for Monday in Sioux Falls. Liggins left open is deadly as shown in the highlight package.
Skyforce Center Alex Oriakhi was part of the crew tasked to patrol the post and prevent the Charge's big man Arinze Onuaku from duplicating the 21 point 19 rebound Game 1 effort. Tale of the tape has Onuaku with 9 counters on 3-6 shooting and 12 rebounds. Give a tip of the hat to the Skyforce rookie for his contribution. “You definitely have to bring your hard hat against this team," said Oriakhi. "They’re big, they’re physical and they can rebound. I just tried to make it as hard for Onuaku as possible to score in the post. My teammates did a great job of doubling and making someone else beat us.”
Much like Game 1 on Thursday, the home team used a 4th quarter run pushing the lead to 80-70 and breaking open close contest. Unlike Game 1, Canton turned contrarian and mounted a spirited comeback that got no closer than 2 points in the final moments. Veteran guard Antoine Agudio was high man for the Charge with 16 points. Strengths were once again on display for the two squads as Canton’s rebounding prowess shined through (52-29) while the Skyforce won the turnover category (27-14).
All the marbles are up for grabs Monday night at the Sanford Pentagon and these two teams will battle once again. Let’s send the invitations to Larry Johnson and Alonzo Mourning to bring the game ball to center court. They will probably like the show that follows if they can keep from throwing elbows at each other like old times.