SIOUX FALLS – The Santa Cruz Warriors (21-17) defeated the Sioux Falls Skyforce 115-98 (23-17) Wednesday night at the Sanford Pentagon, evening the season series at 2-2 with Sioux Falls and moving to within one game of Sioux Falls for the No. 4 spot in the Western Conference Playoff race.
Phil Pressey led the way for the Warriors with his third triple-double of the season, going for 21 points, 15 rebounds and a franchise-record 19 assists, breaking the previous mark of 15 set by Aaron Craft on Nov. 28, 2014, against Rio Grande Valley. James Southerland had a double-double with 26 points and 11 rebounds, while LaDontae Henton also went for a double-double off the bench with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Keith Benson led the Skyforce with 26 points and 13 rebounds, while Bubu Palo also had a double-double with 16 points and 11 assists. Henry Walker added 18 points off the bench on 6-of-11 shooting from beyond the arc, while Denver Nuggets assignee Malik Beasley had 13 points and 7 rebounds.
Trailing 58-54 at the half, Santa Cruz surged ahead for good by outscoring the Skyforce 39-20 in the third quarter, buoyed by a 54-percent shooting effort from the field in the quarter and a 5-of-10 effort from downtown. Defensively, the Warriors forced five turnovers in the period.
Taking a 93-78 lead heading into the fourth quarter, Santa Cruz never let the Skyforce cut the deficit to single digits over the final 12 minutes.
The Warriors shot 45 percent for the game and 37 percent from downtown while limiting the Skyforce to 38 percent shooting and 35 percent from beyond-the-arc. Santa Cruz also controlled the glass, outrebounding the Skyforce 62-43. Sixty-two total rebounds are a Santa Cruz season-high.
Sioux Falls held the edge in assists (30-29), steals (13-12) and committed fewer turnovers (15-17), while Santa Cruz notched more blocks than Sioux Falls, 7-3.
Santa Cruz will next be in action Saturday, Mar. 4, when they host the Reno Bighorns at 7 p.m. PST on “Pajama Night” to benefit local non-profit Project Pajamas. Tickets are still available to attend the game and can be purchased at the Santa Cruz Warriors’ headquarters at 903 Pacific Avenue, online at www.santacruzbasketball.com or over the phone at (831) 713-4400. Fans can also catch the game on Facebook Live by visiting the Santa Cruz Warriors’ Facebook page at tip-off.