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Rough Third Quarter Ends Suns’ Season-Long Winning Streak

By Jacob Withee | January 18, 2018

CEDAR PARK, Tex. – The Northern Arizona Suns kept up their hot play early but couldn’t sustain it, dropping their road contest at the Austin Spurs 113-105.

The Suns (11-15) jumped out to a big first half lead 57-42, thanks to a 28-16 second quarter where Northern Arizona forced Austin to shoot 7-of-22 (.318) from the field. The Spurs (16-12) pulled a complete opposite in the third quarter, outscoring the Suns 32-13 in the frame, quickly erasing what was once a 17-point deficit. Austin forced NAZ to shot 5-of-20 in the third frame, including a 0-for-6 mark from beyond the arc.

The Suns as a whole shot 41-of-95 (.432) from the field compared to a 43-of-85 (.506) clip for Austin. Northern Arizona, who entered making the most three-pointers in the NBA G League at 15.8 per game, made a season-low six tonight on a season-low 19.4 shooting percentage, finishing 6-of-31.

This loss for NAZ snaps a season-long four-game winning streak and is their first loss in 2018. The Suns still finished above .500 on their season-long road trip, 4-3.

Archie Goodwin and Josh Gray each led the Suns with 25 points apiece. Gray scored his on 10-of-19 shooting, to go with nine rebounds and five assists. Goodwin shot 9-of-16 from the field, tallying four rebounds, three assists and two blocks.

Every player in the Suns’ starting lineup scored in double figures. Eric Stuteville recorded a career-high 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting, to go with six rebounds. He scored 12 points in the first quarter alone on 6-of-6 shooting. Xavier Silas had 14 points and four steals. Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson, making his second start of the season, tallied 10 points, six rebounds, three steals and two blocks.

Darrun Hilliard, who scored 38 points in the first meeting between these two, led Austin with 27 points on 9-of-16 shooting to go with three steals. Austin is 10-0 this year when Hilliard shoots better than 50 percent.

Two other Spurs joined Hilliard above the 20-point mark, with Jaron Blossomgame tallying 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting and 12 rebounds, and Olivier Hanlan recording 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting. Jeff Ledbetter just missed the 20-point mark, notching 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting, nine assists and six rebounds.

Shaquille Harrison was one of eight available players for Northern Arizona tonight. He led the bench with 13 points, to go with six rebounds.

The Suns get to return home on Saturday for their first game at the Prescott Valley Event Center since Dec. 22. They host the Salt Lake City Stars at 7 p.m. MT, a team they’re 4-1 against all-time. The Spurs will host the Grand Rapids Drive on Saturday at 6 p.m. MT.

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