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Anthony Bennett’s Big Night Spoiled by Blue

By Jacob Withee | December 19, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Anthony Bennett came back from an illness that’s been hampering him to lead the Northern Arizona Suns with 21 points and eight rebounds Tuesday night at the Oklahoma City Blue.

It marked Bennett’s third career 20+ point game, but it came in the losing effort as the Blue won at the Cox Convention Center 103-87.

The 87 points for NAZ was a season-low (96 at Delaware on Nov. 28). It marked just the third time this year the Suns failed to reach the 100-point mark, as they entered tonight with the highest scoring offense in the NBA G League at 120.8 points per game.

The Suns (7-11) wrapped up a three-game road trip with their lowest shooting mark of the season, hitting 30-of-86 (.349) from the field and 13-of-23 (.565) from the free throw line. Tonight’s field goal percentage, field goals made and free throw percentage were all season-lows.

Bennett was the only Sun to shoot better than 50 percent from the field (7-of-12, 5-of-8 from beyond the arc). He had a new career-high in three-point makes, besting his three, three-point make games.

Oklahoma City jumped out to an early 14-5 lead before the Suns came back to lead 18-16. A little later, OKC went on a 16-0 run to take a 19-point lead, 42-23, but again, NAZ came back and made it just a two-point game at halftime, 48-46.

The Blue (9-10) opened the third quarter with a 7-0 run, a scoring streak this time the Suns would not have an answer for. NAZ only got it back to a seven-point game shortly after and trailed by as many as 25 points in the fourth quarter.

Derrick Jones Jr. recorded 19 points, five rebounds, three steals and two blocks, while Josh Gray led the bench with 12 points, to go with five rebounds, five assists and three steals.

A big positive for the Suns tonight? They had 21 steals in the game. Shaquille Harrison was credited with seven steals to go with four points, four rebounds and four assists. Askia Booker tallied six steals to go with five points, five rebounds and a team-high eight assists.

Markel Brown led the Blue with 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting, to go with five rebounds, four assists and three steals. Daniel Hamilton achieved the game’s lone double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, with PJ Dozier just missing out on one himself off the bench with 18 points, nine rebounds and six assists.

Bryce Alford (14 points), Rashawn Thomas (13 points) and Terrance Ferguson (11 points) also tallied double-digit scoring games for Oklahoma City.

The Suns will get a chance at redemption as both these teams face off again, this time at the Prescott Valley Event Center on Friday at 7 p.m. It will be Northern Arizona’s Christmas game, where the team will have many Christmas themed activities for fans.

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