GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Northern Arizona Suns played inspiring basketball through their first three quarters, but it got away from them in the final frame, as they lost to the Grand Rapids Drive 107-101.
The Suns led by as many as 19 points through the first three quarters, taking an 81-72 lead into the final frame before the Drive kicked in a new gear, finishing the contest on a 12-0 run over the final three minutes to win the quarter 35-20 and the game by six.
Through those first three quarters, the Suns (3-24) shot 52.8 percent from the field and forced the Drive (10-13) to shoot just 40.0 percent. The Suns took their largest lead of the game of 19 at 42-23 with 6:51 left in the second quarter. Down 86-78 with 9:56 left, the Drive went on a 13-4 run to take their first lead since 12-9 in the first quarter. In the fourth quarter, the Suns shot 38.9 percent and turned it over nine times compared to Grand Rapids’ 54.5 percent mark and two turnovers.
This marked the Suns’ eighth straight loss on the road and 14th straight defeat overall, coming Thursday night at the DeltaPlex Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Drive have won three of their past four games.
Jawun Evans led the Suns with 20 points on 10-of-13 shooting, to go with three rebounds and four assists. This was Evans’ seventh 20+ point game of the year, as he now leads the team in that category.
George King recorded 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting, including 3-of-6 from distance, and six rebounds. Off the bench were Retin Obasohan (15 points, 5-7 FG, six rebounds, five assists, two steals) and Aaron Epps (12 points, six rebounds). Peter Jok was the fifth Suns player with double-digit scoring, finishing with 11 points and five rebounds.
For the game, the Suns finished 35-of-71 (.493) from the field. Grand Rapids got 16 more shot attempts (38-of-87, .437) thanks to 15 offensive rebounds, leading to a 22-8 second chance points advantage. The Drive also scored 25 points off of 23 Suns’ turnovers.
Marcus Thornton had a game-high 33 points on 13-of-22 shooting, including 4-of-9 from downtown. Two Drive players had double-doubles, as Kenneth Smith recorded 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting, 10 assists, seven rebounds and six steals. Johnny Hamilton tallied 11 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks.
The Suns will play their third installment of the four-game road trip at the Maine Red Claws on Saturday at 5 p.m. MT. The Drive will hit the road for two games, starting at the Iowa Wolves on Sunday at 3 p.m. MT.