NAZ Suns Drop Defensive Battle to Spurs

By Jacob Withee | December 7, 2018

CEDAR PARK, Texas – Daxter Miles Jr. enjoyed making his first career start for the Northern Arizona Suns as he scored a new career-high for his third straight game, but the team’s off-night shooting proved fatal.

The Suns (3-12) made 30-of-81 (.370) shots tonight, unable to take of advantage of their own great defensive effort in forcing the Spurs (8-5) to a 33-of-84 (.393) clip. The Spurs swept the three-game series from the Suns with a 91-81 win on Thursday night at H-E-B Center in Cedar Park, Texas. Austin is now 9-1 against Northern Arizona in all-time series history, unblemished at home (5-0).

Miles tallied 23 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals, as he replaced Peter Jok in the starting lineup for the first time this season, who was ruled out with a right hand injury. In his last three games, Miles has scored career-high marks with 20 points, 21 points and 23 points. His previous career-high before this run was 19 points in the Suns’ season opener.

NAZ fell behind early, trailing 19-8 midway through the first quarter, but a quick 13-0 run put them ahead of Austin 21-19 late in the first. The Suns led 23-21 after the opening frame as both teams shot an identical 9-of-21 clip. The Spurs again had the advantage most of the second quarter, but NAZ responded again, knotting the game at 40 at halftime. The second half was all Austin as they outscored NAZ 51-41. Austin had as much as an 18-point in the final frame.

Each team was very similar throughout the game, with both teams making a combined 13 three-pointers, both teams turning it over 22 times apiece, and both teams scoring 42 points in the paint each. Austin did outrebound NAZ 50-41 and made seven more free throws.

Derek Cooke Jr. notched his second consecutive double-double with 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting and 10 rebounds. It’s his first stretch of double-doubles since March 5-7, 2017. Tonight marked his team-leading fifth double-double on the year and his seventh game with 10+ rebounds (third straight). Daniel Dixon notched 12 points, five rebounds and two steals, one of three Suns to score in double figures.

Austin had four double-digit scorers, all in the starting lineup. Lonnie Walker IV led with 24 points on 10-of-19 shooting. Tuesday’s star Ben Moore followed with another double-double, this time with 13 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and two steals. Drew Eubanks (11 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, two steals) and John Holland (15 points, five rebounds, three assists, two steals) also turned in solid nights. Amida Brimah led the bench with 11 rebounds to go with eight points and three blocks.

The Suns will host their annual Christmas Game next with a Saturday matchup against the Stockton Kings at 7 p.m. MT. The Spurs will stay home to take on the Memphis Hustle on Saturday at 6 p.m. MT.

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