DES MOINES, Iowa – The Northern Arizona Suns wanted to start December on the right foot, and that they did, winning an exciting battle against the Iowa Wolves 109-107.
Jawun Evans made the game-winning free throws with 1.6 seconds left to end the Suns’ six-game overall losing streak and six-game losing streak on the road. The Suns (3-10) are 2-0 against the Wolves (3-7) this season, both wins coming at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.
A riveting finish to this one ended in the Suns’ favor. Northern Arizona led 104-93 with 4:05 remaining before Iowa responded with an 8-0 run to get back in the game. Leading 107-104, the Suns seemed to put the game out of reach with an Aaron Epps putback layup with 10 seconds left, but the shot clock expired with the ball in the tip of his fingers. The Wolves followed with a Jonathan Stark deep three-point shot to tie the game with 4.0 seconds left. Evans received the ball and attempted a three-pointer with 1.6 seconds left, and he was fouled by Stark. Evans made his first two free throws to put the Suns up 109-107. Darius Johnson-Odom missed what would have been the game-winning three-pointer at the other end.
Evans finished with 33 points on 13-of-19 shooting, six rebounds and four assists. This was Evans’ third straight 30+ point performance and his fifth straight 20+ point game. Over his last five games, Evans has averaged 29.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists.
Daxter Miles Jr. led the Suns bench with a career-high 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting, including 4-of-9 from distance, five assists, three rebounds and two steals. He bested his 19-point game he had in the season-opener against the Santa Cruz Warriors on Nov. 3. Both Peter Jok and Epps just missed out on double-doubles, as Jok recorded 15 points on 7-of-13 shooting and eight rebounds, with Epps notching 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting from deep and nine rebounds. Daniel Dixon tallied 15 points and six rebounds, while Derek Cooke Jr. finished with eight points, 11 rebounds and two steals.
The Suns outshot the Wolves 41-of-80 (.513) to 37-of-89 (.416) and outrebounded them 49-38.
Iowa was led by Johnson-Odom and his 26 points on 9-of-14 shooting, to go with seven rebounds. Both Keita Bates-Diop (19 points, 12 rebounds) and Stark (11 points, 12 rebounds, three steals) recorded double-doubles on the night.
The Suns will head back home following the 1-1 trip to face the defending champion Austin Spurs on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. MT. The Wolves will have no time to stress about this loss, playing against the Memphis Hustle at home tomorrow at 5 p.m. MT.