The Sioux Falls Skyforce beat the Canton Charge 112-104 Tuesday in game one of the NBA D-League Eastern Conference Finals.
Rodney McGruder (Kansas State) had a game-high 30 points, Keith Benson (Oakland University) scored 19, while Jarnell Stokes (Tennessee) and Greg Whittington (Georgetown) added 18 points apiece for the Skyforce in the win.
For Canton, D-League Rookie of the Year Quinn Cook (Duke) had a team-high 25 points and 10 assists, Jordan McRae (Tennessee) scored 21, while Sasha Kaun chipped in 15 points in the loss.
Up by only two at the half (51-49), Sioux Falls went on an 18-2 run to start the fourth quarter to take control of the game.
Canton crawled their way back to within four points on a Quinn Cook layup with 3:03 remaining, but the explosive Skyforce then quickly pushed the lead back up to double digits.
The Skyforce (40-10) won an NBA D-League record 40 games this season, breaking the previous regular season wins mark held by the 2011-12 Los Angeles D-Fenders, which went 38-12.
Jarnell Stokes, Sioux Falls’s leading scorer at 20.6 points a game, said that getting the all-time single season record was very important to him.
“I want to be known as a winner,” said the 6-7, 250-pound Stokes. “Even though I didn’t get the opportunity that I wanted to play in the NBA, I feel like this had made my season worth it because winning the D-League definitely shows transference into the league as far as showcasing certain skills and being a winning player.”
Game 2 against the Charge in this best-of-three Eastern Conference Finals series is on Sunday, April 17 in Sioux Falls.