PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona Suns had a first quarter to remember. It’s the second half they’d like to forget.
The NAZ Suns jumped out to a 21-point first quarter lead, largely thanks to a 15-0 run to start the game, but they couldn’t hold on, losing at home Tuesday night to the Salt Lake City Stars 100-89.
The Suns (2-6) forced the Stars (4-3) to miss their first 12 shots of the game, while forcing four turnovers, so the Stars came up empty in their first 16 possessions. NAZ held its largest lead at 24-3 with 3:14 left in the opening frame, closing the first 12 minutes up 29-11. The 11 points for Salt Lake City were the third fewest in a quarter by any team in the NBA G League this season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The second quarter was much of the same, with NAZ holding a firm advantage until the end, with Salt Lake City entering halftime on an 11-3 run. That run would turn into a 25-8 run, making it just a two-point game a few minutes into the third quarter. With 1:02 left in the third, the Stars took their first lead, a lead that would extend to as high as 15 with a few minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Stars outscored the Suns 61-39 in the second half, outrebounding them 29-17 in the same timeframe.
For the game, Salt Lake City shot 27 more free throws, shooting 22-of-36 from the charity stripe compared to NAZ’s 5-of-9 clip.
George King led the Suns with 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 5-of-6 from beyond the arc, to go with nine rebounds and three assists. This was King’s fourth 20+ point game of the season, a mark that leads the team.
Each member of the Suns’ starting five scored in double-figures, as Jawun Evans tallied 14 points, six assists, five rebounds and two steals, while Aaron Epps, Peter Jok and Eric Stuteville each scored 12 points.
The Stars’ bench outscored the Suns’ bench 44-19.
Salt Lake City was paced by Naz Mitrou-Long and his 29 points on 8-of-14 shooting (4-9 3FG, 9-11 FT) and nine rebounds. Willie Reed notched 15 points, eight rebounds and three blocks, while both Tyler Cavanaugh and Jairus Lyles led the bench with 15 points apiece.
The Suns will get two road games immediately after Thanksgiving, with a Friday matchup against the Stockton Kings at 8 p.m. MT, and a Saturday game at the Agua Caliente Clippers at 8 p.m. MT. The Stars will wrap up a three-game road trip at the Santa Cruz Warriors on Friday at 8 p.m. MT.