Cedar Park, TX – After winning their last two contests, the Austin Toros dropped to 13-19 after the 116-104 loss to the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
“We really started with such a huge deficit,” Toros head coach Ken McDonald said. “We were down I think 25-6 in the first quarter. You can’t dig that kind of hole against a good team that executes and they know how to play. Squeaky (Johnson) and some other guys really stepped up in the fourth and gave us a chance. We had our chances but its how we started the game that really did it for us.”
The Skyforce took the lead early in the first half and never looked back, extending their lead to 30 points in the second quarter. Flip Murray led the charge for the Toros as they cut Sioux Falls’ lead to under 20 points, 68-49.
Sioux Falls extended their lead to 25 in the third but Murray’s 3-pointer put the Toros within 20, 76-56, with 7:30 left in the third quarter. The Toros trailed, 93-72, heading into the final frame.
Sioux Falls forward Henry Walker’s three-second violation resulted in a technical free throw — Carldell “Squeaky” Johnson made the free throw throw and knocked down a 3-pointer, scoring four points in 14 seconds. Austin scored the first 13 points of the fourth quarter, cutting Sioux Falls’ lead to 93-84 with 10 minutes left to play.
The comeback was short lived.
Sioux Falls responded with a 14-2 run to claim a double digit lead, 107-86, with 5:16 left. Murray scored eight points in the last two minutes, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit. Murray finished with a season-high 36 points.
“I was just trying to get us back into the game,” Murray said. “We started out real bad. We were in a 25-6 hole to start the game. They had us fighting and trying to claw our back since the first quarter. I was trying to be aggressive, trying to get a spark back in my team and we cut it down to nine but unfortunately we came up a little short.
The Toros will travel to South Dakota to play the second leg of a two-game series against the Skyforce. Tip-off is at 7:00pm this Friday, February 23.