SANTA CRUZ, CA – The Sioux Falls Skyforce (10-3) fell to the Santa Cruz Warriors (10-2) by a 113-102 margin at the Kaiser Permanente Arena on Wednesday night despite Miami HEAT two-way player Yante Maten’s 35-point, 13-rebound double-double. Maten has now scored at least 30 points in four-straight contests for the Force.
Briante Weber tallied two steals and two points in the opening minute to start things off for Sioux Falls, but would head to the locker room just 43 seconds into the contest after coming down awkwardly on a fast-break layup. Weber later returned in the first half, and tallied five steals in just 13 minutes of playing time before exiting the game for good early in the third quarter.
Without Weber at the helm for much of the game, Santa Cruz’s second-ranked defense proved to be too much for the first-ranked Sioux Falls offense, holding the visiting team to its lowest scoring output of the season. Golden State Warriors two-way player Damion Lee (28 points) and Kendrick Nunn (28 points) tied to lead the Warriors in the win, Nunn having led a Santa Cruz bench unit that scored 65 points in the contest.
Malik Newman (25 points) tallied a new career-high off the bench for the Skyforce in what ended up being a rough shooting night from the field. Miami HEAT two-way player Duncan Robinson (12 points) was the only other Sioux Falls player in double-figures as the visitors shot just 39.3 percent from the field and 19.4 percent from three-point range in the loss.
After trailing by as many as 10 points in the first quarter, the Skyforce made numerous attempts at a comeback throughout the game. Seemingly every time it got close, however, the Warriors had an answer. Sioux Falls cut the lead to just two points on multiple occasions early in the fourth quarter, but a Santa Cruz run saw the home team build a double-digit lead where the margin floated for the remainder of the game.
The Skyforce will look to move on from the loss as it travels back to Sioux Falls to take on the Texas Legends (6-8) on Saturday, December 8 at the Sanford Pentagon. After his recent stint with USA Basketball, Skyforce guard DeAndre Liggins will rejoin the team in Sioux Falls ahead of Saturday’s matchup.
The Warriors will look to build on their Western-Conference-leading record as the team hits the road to take on the South Bay Lakers (6-8) on Friday, December 7. The Lakers have been playing well as of late, having won four of their last five games.