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Balanced Suns Explode in Second Half in Win Over Magic

By Jacob Withee | December 2, 2017

LAKELAND, Florida – For the first time this season, seven different Northern Arizona Suns players scored in double figures, leading a balanced attack to a 128-105 win over the Lakeland Magic on the road Saturday night.

Askia Booker (22), Josh Gray (22) and Derrick Jones Jr. (21) each scored 20+ points in the Suns’ road win, as the team wrapped up a four-game road trip 2-2.

The first half was as close as it could get between the Suns (5-6) and Magic (6-5). Both teams were square at 35 after the opening frame and Lakeland took a one-point lead into the locker room after shooting 7-of-14 from beyond the arc. There were 13 lead changes and 10 ties in the first half alone.

It quickly changed out of the break, however, as NAZ went on a 10-0 run and the team never looked back. The Suns scored on six of their first seven possessions in the third quarter. After the 10-0 run, the Suns never led by less than eight points the rest of the game.

The Suns won consecutive games by 20+ points after not having a single one of their first nine contests decided by double-digits. They shot a season-high 53.8 percent from the field (49-of-91) and made 17-of-42 (.405) from three-point land. This made for back-to-back games the Suns shot 50 percent or better from the field and 40 percent or better from behind the three-point line.

Booker earned his fifth 20+ point game of the season on 8-of-11 shooting, including 4-of-6 from beyond the arc, to go with eight assists. Gray achieved his team-leading sixth 20+ point game of the year on 9-of-14 shooting, to go with five assists, four rebounds and five steals. His five steals marked a new season-high.

Jones recorded his third consecutive 20+ point game and fifth such game of the season thanks to a 9-of-12 clip from the field.

Also posting big games were Shaquille Harrison (16 points on 6-of-7 shooting), Alec Peters (14 points, six rebounds, three assists), Xavier Silas (12 points) and Anthony Bennett (11 points, 10 rebounds, four assists). This was Bennett’s second double-double on the year.

Lakeland’s Troy Caupain led all scorers with 28 points on 10-of-19 shooting, including 5-of-8 from beyond the arc, to go with five rebounds and five assists. He was averaging 13.8 points coming into Saturday night’s contest.

Jamel Artis also scored 20+ for the Magic, dropping 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting, to go with seven rebounds.

The Suns get to head back home for one game, as they will host the newly re-branded South Bay Lakers on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. MT. The Magic will play their second installment of a six-game homestand against the Reno Bighorns on Wednesday at 5 p.m. MT.

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