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Salt Lake City Stars fall 117-100 to defending champion Sioux Falls in season opener

The Salt Lake City Stars couldn't overcome a disastrous second quarter as they fell 117-100 to the D-League defending champion Sioux Falls Skyforce at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Saturday night.

After trailing by six at the end of the first quarter, the Stars were outscored 38-19 in the second as the halftime deficit ballooned to 25.

Salt Lake City made a big run in the third quarter to close the gap to 14 before Jabril Trawick knocked down a 3-point shot with 1.9 seconds left in the quarter to push the Skyforce lead back to 17.

The Stars (0-1) fought Sioux Falls to a 27-27 fourth-quarter draw, but got no closer than 13 points in the final stanza.

Keith Benson led seven Skyforce players in double figures with a team-high 22 points to go along with 12 rebounds and five blocks.

Briante Weber and Bubu Palo also had big efforts in the win. Weber managed a triple-double with 14 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and four steals, while Palo managed 16 points, nine assists and seven rebounds.

Henry Sims, scored the first basket in Stars history on an assist from Jermaine Taylor, led the way for the Stars with 30 points on 9-of-16 shooting from the floor and 10 of 15 from the free-throw line. He added eight rebounds, but he didn't have enough help on the glass to keep Sioux Falls at bay.

The Skyforce owned the backboards, outrebounding the Stars 63-40, including 15-6 on the offensive glass.

JJ O'Brien added 20 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals for the Stars, while Evrik Gary chipped in with 14 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in 31 minutes off the bench.

Salt Lake City will be back on the floor Tuesday night with another road game against the Oklahoma City Blue.

Jay Yeomans is a sports writer for DeseretNews.com. Contact him at jyeomans@deseretdigital.com.