NEWARK, Del. – Three Northern Arizona Suns players posted monster games, but they came in a losing effort at the Delaware 87ers on Tuesday night.
Derrick Jones Jr. (32 points, 12 rebounds), Mike Young (18 points, 12 rebounds) and Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson (11 points, 13 rebounds) each achieved double-doubles in Northern Arizona’s 103-96 loss to the 87ers.
Jones, a Chester, Pennsylvania, native, had a career-day against the Philadelphia 76ers NBA G League affiliate, as his 32 points marked a new career-high. In fact, his 32 points are the most Jones has scored on a professional level (NBA or G League), and it even surpasses his collegiate career-high of 26 points at UNLV. He shot 12-of-17 from the floor, adding two assists and three blocks to his total.
Young, a Washington Wizards assignee, achieved his first professional double-double. His 18 points tied his season-high as a member of the Suns (he tallied 21 points with Delaware earlier this year), and his 11 rebounds were a new career-high as well. He also added two assists and two steals in 36 minutes.
Hollis-Jefferson, a Temple alum, got to play in front of his family tonight. It was the spark he needed to post his second double-double of the year, earning a new NBA G League career-high with those 13 rebounds (12 on Nov. 11 of this season vs. Iowa).
The Suns (3-6) got off to a slow start, falling behind the 87ers 31-18 after the opening frame. Northern Arizona has always found a way to come back this season, however, as through nine games, there has yet to be a final score differential greater than nine points.
The 87ers (2-8) led by two points entering the fourth quarter, and a back-and-forth finish where each team was playing a different style entertained the fans. NAZ, who entered the night making the most three-pointers per game, finished 7-of-26 (.269) from beyond the arc despite facing a Delaware team who was allowing the fourth-best three-point percentage to opponents. The Suns got the majority of the work done inside, scoring 54 points in the paint compared to Delaware’s 36. Northern Arizona also secured 59 rebounds as a team, matching a new franchise-high (vs. Grand Rapids on Jan. 14, 2017).
The difference in the game came down to turnovers, as the 87ers scored 25 points off of 21 NAZ turnovers while committing 15 miscues, which led to 16 points, themselves.
Christian Wood recorded a double-double for Delaware with 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting and 10 rebounds. Seven different 87ers scored in double figures, with Furkan Korkmaz the highest scorer (14 points) behind Wood.
Askia Booker (13 points) and Shaquille Harrison (12 points) also tallied double-digit scoring games for NAZ, who will now head to Greensboro for a 5 p.m. MT matchup against the Swarm on Thursday. That game will be televised on ESPNU.
Delaware takes its two-game winning streak into Memphis where they will face the Hustle at 11 a.m. MT on Saturday.