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Ignite discombobulated by Skyforce defense, drop to 0-4

A rough start to the regular season got rougher after another double-digit loss for the NBA G League Ignite.

Wrapping up a four-game road trip to start the regular season, the Ignite dropped a fourth straight game, this time losing to the Sioux Falls Skyforce, 126-103. Dating back to the showcase portion of the schedule, this year’s developmental group has a 1-10 record on the road.

After taking their lumps on the road, the Ignite will return home to the Dollar Loan Center for eight straight games beginning Friday, Jan. 5 against the Oklahoma City Blue. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. as the home team searches for its first win of the season.

Mistakes that turned into points the other way far too many times spelled doom for the Ignite as the Skyforce, literally and figuratively, ran away with the game. Sioux Falls raced out to 40 points off turnover along with 30 fast break points.

Those stark numbers were posted while the Ignite committed just two more turnovers than its opponent. The Skyforce came away with 20 steals of the 26 forced turnovers.

Due to the transition points for the home team, Sioux Falls put up 69 points in the first half while building a lead as large as 14 points. Late in the third quarter the margin ballooned to its largest of the night at 31 points. That second half run was largely highlighted by a 28-10 run with an 11-0 spurt sandwiched inside.

It didn’t help the Ignite’s chances with the Skyforce coming out guns blazing from the three-point line, connecting on six of their nine attempts. Those six makes were one more than the total number of threes attempted by the Ignite.

Sioux Falls forward Justin Champagnie entered the game on fire with 21 points with five made treys in the first half. He’d finish with a game-high 31 points, six rebounds, six assists and six steals.

Champagnie was one of six Skyforce players that recorded at least 10 points, three of which added at least three steals as well. Additionally, the team shot 41% from deep and 52% overall.

Projected top-three pick Ron Holland made an impact on the game right away with his scoring after being held to 12 points in the first of two meetings against Sioux Falls. He recorded 16 points in the first half on his way to 20 for the game on 6-of-13 from the floor.

Holland now has nine 20-point games this year, which leads the team.

Fellow projected top pick Matas Buzelis fouled out in just 16 minutes played, leaving the contest with four points on a limited 2-for-3 shooting.

Draft-eligible forward Izan Almansa continued to shine bright for head coach Jason Hart’s club, leading the team with 23 points on a near-perfect 9-of-11 from the field. He has now led the Ignite in scoring in two of the team’s last three games.

Three-year NBA veteran Jeremy Pargo had his third double-digit scoring night since signing with the Ignite this past offseason. He posted 16 points off-the-bench, just three points off tying his season-high.

Fellow veteran guard John Jenkins added 15 points sparked by 10 points in the first quarter.


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