A new season against a newly branded team started well, but the Lakeland Magic surged at the finish to grab the 108-100 win over the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

Throughout the game Sioux Falls (1-1) would pull ahead early in each quarter with Lakeland (1-1) able to respond. Skyforce Coach Nevada Smith feels the team needs to work harder at maintaining a groove on offense.

“There were multiple times I thought we made runs and we had control. Then we took a shot, made a pass or made a decision that wasn’t part of the plan. It came back to bite us. We’ve been playing with fire, but tonight we got burned a little bit.”

Guard Torrey Craig says he takes responsibility for some of the defensive breakdowns that allowed some open shots.

“It was a lot of breakdowns that I was involved in myself where we should have communicated more or communicated earlier that could have led to a better outcome. It’s still early (in the season) and hopefully we can take this game and learn from it.”

Erik McCree led the Skyforce with 16 points while Craig finished with 15 points and 5 blocks followed by Tony Mitchell’s 13 points and 12 rebounds.

Leading all scorers was Rodney Purvis with 31 points followed by three players posting double doubles for the Magic starting with 26 points and 13 rebounds from Jamel Artis, 16 points 11 rebounds from former Skyforce big man Khem Birch and 13 points and 10 boards for Troy Caupain.

Both teams will return to the court Friday night when Sioux Falls will host the Delaware 87ers and Lakeland plays their first home game when the Canton pay a visit.

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