PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona Suns changed their name, logo and jerseys for one day, but it was thanks to Northern Arizona Rodeo Clowns guard Retin Obasohan for capping a fantastic night for the home team.
Obasohan got the ball in a chaotic last possession for the Rodeo Clowns, gathered himself, drove to the hole and finished an and-1 layup with 6.3 seconds left to take the lead. That proved to be the game-winner, as the Northern Arizona Rodeo Clowns forced a missed shot on the other end to beat the Texas Legends 117-116.
The Rodeo Clowns (6-24) welcomed 2,063 fans at the Findlay Toyota Center Saturday for their Western Night, in which the team celebrated the community’s heritage and tradition. The Rodeo Clowns wore striped jerseys resembling the outfit of a rodeo clown. All jerseys will be auctioned at a later date, with proceeds benefitting the Prescott Western Heritage Foundation.
There must be something about wearing specialty jerseys, as Northern Arizona improved to 4-1 all-time when wearing a unique fit. This was the Rodeo Clowns’ third straight win, a season-long mark. The Legends (9-20) have now dropped nine of their last 10 games.
Peter Jok led the way for Northern Arizona, as he finished with 24 points on 10-of-16 shooting, including 4-of-9 from beyond the arc, to go with five rebounds and two steals. Jok has now tied the team-lead in 20+ point games, earning his seventh on the year. He also extended his league-leading mark of consecutive games to start the year making a three-point shot to 26.
Daxter Miles Jr. provided a huge lift off the bench for Northern Arizona, scoring 14 points in the first half, finishing with 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting (3-6 3PT) and four assists. Other Rodeo Clowns with solid games were Hollis Thompson (14 points, 6-9 FG, 2-2 3PT, seven rebounds, four assists), Jawun Evans (12 points, six assists, four rebounds), George King (11 points, 4-7 FG, 2-4 3PT, seven rebounds, three assists), Trayvon Palmer (10 points, two steals) and Obasohan, who ended up with 10 points, seven assists and two steals.
The Rodeo Clowns couldn’t miss to start the game, making 13-of-23 (.565) from the field and 7-of-12 (.583) from distance in the first quarter. They actually improved in the second quarter, making 14-of-22 (.636) from the floor. Northern Arizona took a 64-57 lead into the locker room, shooting 27-of-45 (.600) from the field and 8-of-16 (.500) from distance.
The Legends got back into the game thanks to free throws, as they attempted 20 in the third quarter, making 13 of them. For the game, Texas shot 22-of-39 (.564) from the charity stripe compared to 11-of-16 (.688) by NAZ.
Once leading by 12, the Rodeo Clowns found themselves trailing late in the third before getting to the fourth up 89-86. Neither team led by more than six the rest of the way. Aaron Epps nailed a three-pointer with 31.0 seconds left to give the Rodeo Clowns a two-point lead, before Justin Dentmon answered with a three of his own. That paved the way for Obasohan’s heroics.
The Rodeo Clowns shot a season-high 55.4 percent from the field, making 46-of-83 shots, while making 14-of-31 (.452) from distance. The Legends nearly won by scoring 30 points off of 22 turnovers and their free throws.
Dentmon had a game-high 27 points off the bench on 9-of-16 shooting, including 6-of-11 from downtown. Wade Baldwin IV finished with 25 points, making 12-of-16 from the free throw line. He also had eight rebounds, six assists and four steals.
Other great Legends performances came from Ray Spalding (23 points, 8-16 FG, 2-3 3PT, 17 rebounds, four assists, three steals, three blocks) and Xavier Johnson (23 points, 5-8 FG, 10 rebounds, two steals).
The Rodeo Clowns will return to their normal Suns name tomorrow. Northern Arizona’s next game will be Tuesday at the Findlay Toyota Center against the Salt Lake City Stars. That will be the team’s annual Kids Day Game, so it will tip off at 11 a.m. MT. The Legends return home for three games, beginning against the Iowa Wolves on Monday at 2 p.m. MT.