PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona Suns started strong once again, but this time they didn’t relent, winning their first game of the season.
The Suns (1-2) knocked off the defending champion Rio Grande Valley Vipers (1-4) 122-105 on Sunday at the Findlay Toyota Center, using a balanced effort even though they entered the game shorthanded.
The Suns had just eight players dressed, and of the eight, seven scored in double figures, while three achieved a double-double. Jalen Lecque led all scorers with 25 points (9-19 FG) to go with three rebounds and three assists. It marked a career-high in scoring for the Phoenix Suns rookie, who is now averaging 17.7 points through three games in the NBA G League.
The Suns jumped out to a big lead, ending the first frame up 33-17 thanks to 13-of-23 (.565) shooting and 5-of-23 (.217) shooting by the Vipers. In the second quarter, the Suns went up 23 points before the Vipers battled back to make it 62-49 at halftime.
The third quarter was the only time the Vipers posed a real threat in the game, as they began the second half on an 11-2 run, which turned into an 18-8 run that made it a three-point game with 6:44 left in the third. From there, the Suns outscored the Vipers 31-13 the rest of the quarter to enter the final frame up 101-80. The game was never closer than a 17-point contest the remainder of regulation. The Suns won by 17, taking a 26-point lead at one time and never trailing in the contest.
Northern Arizona shot 44-of-94 (.468) from the field and 12-of-38 (.316) from distance. The Vipers finished at 29-of-81 (.358) and 8-of-44 (.182) from downtown. Besides shooting, the biggest difference came in assists, where the Suns dished out 27 of them compared to RGV’s 12.
Daxter Miles Jr. had a bounce back performance with 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting, including 4-of-9 from deep. Joining him with 20+ points off the bench was Anthony Lawrence II, who had 21 points (6-10 FG, 2-5 3PT, 4-4 FT), three rebounds, three assists and three steals.
The trio with the double-doubles was Trayvon Palmer (14 points, 14 rebounds, three steals), ShawnDre Jones (14 points, 12 assists, three steals) and Norense Odiase (12 points, 12 rebounds, two steals). Palmer’s 14 rebounds marked a new career-high, surpassing his 13 on Jan. 22, 2019, vs. Salt Lake City. Jones had a career-high in scoring, besting a couple of 13-point outings. It’s his second career double-double. Odiase collects his first double-double in just his second career game.
The Vipers were led by Angel Rodriguez and Jaron Blossomgame, who each had 21 points apiece. Rodriguez added six rebounds, five assists and two steals. Blossomgame had five rebounds. Roger Moute a Bidias had Rio Grande Valley’s lone double-double with 13 points (5-7 FG) and 10 rebounds.
The Suns will hit the road for the first time this season, a quick trip to Santa Cruz to take on the Warriors on Thursday at 8 p.m. MT. The Vipers will wrap up a three-game road trip at the Oklahoma City Blue on Tuesday at 6 p.m. MT.