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McGruder works magic, Skyforce escape GR with win

Grand Rapids, MI — The Sioux Falls Skyforce scored the first six points of the game and held off a late comeback bid as they defeated the Grand Rapids Drive Friday night at the DeltaPlex Arena, 104-98.

Keith Benson and Rodney McGruder each scored 21 points for the Skyforce, who won their third game in a row, 14 of the last 15, and now hold the NBA D-League’s best record at 20-4.

The Skyforce got out to a quick lead but found themselves in a battle with the Drive, leading 26-23 after the first quarter. Coach Otis Smith then put GR into a 2-3 zone in the second quarter and the Drive responded with a 6-0 run to take a 34-29 lead, their first of the game. But Sioux Falls kept attacking the basket any time they could and hit some easy 3-pointers amid the scrambling defense. Spencer Dinwiddie hit a running floater in the lane to bring the Drive within 53-50 at the half.

The second half was more of the same back and forth action on the scoreboard and the floor. Kelsey Barlow hit a 3-pointer with 6:26 left in the third, capping a 15-4 run and giving Grand Rapids a 65-59 lead. But McGruder’s 3-pointer helped the SkyForce retake the lead at 71-69.

Benson, who played at Oakland University, was 9-of-13 from the field, pulled down eight rebounds and was a menace all night for the Drive’s big men. McGruder hit 7-of-9 field goals including five 3-pointers.

With the loss, Grand Rapids falls to 11-11 overall.

Devin Ebanks, coming off his franchise-record setting 43 points against Maine, scored 21 points to lead Grand Rapids. Henry Sims ended the night with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Dinwiddie, who is on assignment from the Detroit Pistons, had 16 points and six assists. Barlow added 13 points.


  • Israel Romero will now wear number 0.IMG_3145
  • Wheelchair basketball teams from Mary Free Bed Rehab played during halftime.


  • Earl Cureton and John Long were in attendance as honorees during Pistons Tribute Night.
  • Attendance was 3,357.





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