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Nwamu-Epps Tandem Not Enough to Overcome Slow Suns Start

By Jacob Withee | January 30, 2020

PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – Ike Nwamu and Aaron Epps had impressive performances off the bench for the Northern Arizona Suns on Wednesday night in the team’s 117-108 loss to the Austin Spurs at the Findlay Toyota Center.

The Suns (8-22) dropped their second straight game, while the Spurs (16-13) snapped a season-long four-game losing streak.

Nwamu led all scorers with 26 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including 5-of-7 from distance, to go with four rebounds and three assists. In eight games with the Suns, Nwamu has scored 20+ points four times, each off the bench. Epps joined with 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-3 3PT, and six rebounds in 20 minutes. This was a season-high in scoring for Epps, as he surpassed his 22-point game vs. Texas on Dec. 10.

The Suns got off to a slow start tonight, scoring just five points in the first seven minutes of action, trailing 16-5 with 4:19 left in the frame. Austin forced NAZ to a 3-of-20 (.150) clip in the quarter to go up 32-16 after one. After falling behind by 24 points, 42-18, the Suns responded the rest of the half, chipping that deficit away all the way to nine at the break, 60-51. They made 13-of-22 (.591) from the field in the quarter, 5-of-6 (.833) from downtown.

The third quarter started like the first quarter, with the Spurs beginning the half on a 23-5 run to take their largest lead of the game at 27 points, finishing the third up 92-75. In the fourth, the Suns responded yet again, starting the frame on a 13-2 run to get within six. That’s the closest they would get, although they fought the rest of the way, making 13-of-21 (.619) shots in the frame.

The Spurs were led by Luka Samanic and Dedric Lawson, who achieved big double-doubles. Samanic had 21 points and 14 rebounds, while Lawson tallied 17 points, 14 rebounds, three steals and three blocks. Quinndary Weatherspoon had a team-high seven assists, adding 17 points on 8-of-11 shooting and four steals.

Jared Harper finished with 15 points and a team-high seven assists, to go with five rebounds. Tariq Owens just missed a double-double with 14 points (5-7 FG) and nine rebounds.

The Suns play just once more from now until the following Wednesday. They’ll play at the Texas Legends on Friday at 6:30 p.m. MT. The Spurs also next play at the Legends, their game on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. MT.

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