The Windy City Bulls (22-19) fended off a late comeback attempt by the Sioux Falls Skyforce (23-18) to earn a 116-111 victory on Wednesday night at the Sanford Pentagon. With the loss, the Force have now dropped four-straight games and have lost eight of their last nine contests in total.
Windy City led by as many as 10 points early in the first quarter before Sioux Falls cut the deficit to 26-22 entering the second period. CJ Fair (19 points) had the hot hand early for the Bulls, scoring 11 points in the opening quarter alone.
Rodney Purvis (31 points) kept the Skyforce within striking distance throughout the first half, scoring 18 of his game-high 31 points in the first two quarters. Purvis knocked down six-of-10 three-point field goals on his way to tallying his second-highest point total of the season in the loss.
A late Sioux Falls surge saw the Bulls’ lead cut to just a single point with 4:35 left in the final frame, but Windy City quickly responded with an 8-0 run and never looked back. JaKarr Sampson (19 points and 17 rebounds) and Walter Lemon Jr. (25 points, nine assists and six rebounds) stole the show in the second half to lead the Bulls to victory.
Charles Cooke III (23 points) made his return from his stint with USA Basketball and picked up right where he left off, scoring 17 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter alone to lead the Skyforce comeback attempt. Meanwhile, Duke Mondy (20 points, seven rebounds and seven assists) shot a perfect five-of-five from three-point range on his way to tallying a season-high 20 points in what was his second-consecutive start.
Finally, Miami HEAT assignee Emanuel Terry totaled 12 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks in just under 27 minutes of playing time, but played just 20 seconds in the final period in the loss.
The Skyforce will look to get back into the win column and stay in the mix for a 2019 playoff berth on Friday, March 1 as the Grand Rapids Drive (19-20) pay a visit to the Sanford Pentagon. Meanwhile, the Windy City Bulls will travel back to Chicago for a battle with the Eastern Conference-leading Lakeland Magic (26-15) this Friday.