Balanced Blue Knock Off NAZ Suns

By Jacob Withee | February 26, 2020

PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – In their first meeting, the Northern Arizona Suns held the Oklahoma City Blue to just 35 points in the first half. Wednesday night, the Blue responded by doubling that total in the first half, leading a balanced attack to knock off the Suns 128-115 at the Findlay Toyota Center.

The Blue had nine players available, and eight scored 10+ points in the contest, as they improved to 18-19. Aaron Epps led the Suns (8-30) with 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including 4-of-7 from deep, in Northern Arizona’s 10th straight loss.

The Blue made 49-of-92 (.533) from the floor, including 15-of-38 (.395) from beyond the arc, compared to Northern Arizona’s 45-of-102 (.441) clip, 13-of-40 (.325) from distance. The Blue outscored the Suns in the paint 62-42.

There were eight lead changes and six ties tonight, though they all occurred in a close first half. After Oklahoma City scored the game’s first seven points, the Suns responded with an 8-0 run to take their first lead. Neither team led by more than five the rest of the quarter, with the Blue ending the frame on top 40-38. In the second quarter, the game was tied at 56 when the Blue began an 11-0 run. They would not relinquish the lead the remainder of the game, leading by as many as 19 points.

Tariq Owens achieved his team-leading seventh double-double with 19 points on 9-of-14 shooting, 10 rebounds, three blocks and two steals. ShawnDre Jones scored a career-high 16 points (6-13 FG), adding a team-high eight assists to go with four rebounds. Ike Nwamu tallied 15 points (6-10 FG), seven rebounds and four assists. Anthony Lawrence II earned his first double-digit scoring game since Jan. 18 with 13 points (5-9 FG). Jalen Lecque finished with 10 points, four rebounds and four assists.

Tyler Cook led the Blue with 19 points on 9-of-13 shooting. Two Blue players had strong double-doubles; DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell (18 points, 7-11 FG, 4-5 3PT, 14 rebounds) and Kadeem Jack (18 points, 7-10 FG, 12 rebounds).

The Suns are back on the road for a game at the Texas Legends on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. MT. The Blue head home for two, beginning Saturday against the Iowa Wolves at 6 p.m. MT.

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