Suns Cold in Loss to Defending Champions

By Jacob Withee | November 9, 2018

CEDAR PARK, Texas – The Northern Arizona Suns couldn’t get much to fall Friday night.

Coming into their matchup with the Austin Spurs (1-1), the defending NBA G League champions, the Suns (1-3) were shooting the seventh best percentage from the field (.494) across the league and the seventh best mark from distance (.381). In their 99-88 road loss, they weren’t close to either average.

NAZ finished 33-of-97 (.340) from the field and 6-of-32 (.188) from beyond the arc. Both percentages were the lowest marks in team history (.346 at Maine on Feb. 9, 2017, and .194 at Austin on Jan. 18, 2018). The Suns’ 88 points scored were the second fewest in team history (87 at Oklahoma City on Dec. 19, 2017).

De’Anthony Melton led all scorers with 25 points on 10-of-20 shooting, eight rebounds and three assists. The Phoenix Suns’ assignee notched his first career 20+ point game for Northern Arizona. Daxter Miles Jr. was the only other Suns player in double figures, as he tallied 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting, three rebounds, three assists and two steals off the bench. Derek Cooke Jr. recorded four steals, George King had eight points and eight rebounds, while Aaron Epps tallied season-highs in scoring (nine points) and rebounding (seven).

The Spurs meanwhile earned their first win of the 2018-19 campaign after shooting 36-of-68 (.529) from the field and 11-of-23 (.478) from distance. The Suns took 29 more shot attempts in the game, as NAZ secured 16 offensive rebounds and limited Austin to just two. Overall, NAZ outrebounded Austin 44-39, the Suns scored more in the paint (48-40), scored more on the break (17-8), scored more second chance points (22-4), and forced more turnovers (23 Spurs TO’s to 16 Suns’ miscues).

Four of the five Spurs’ starters scored in double figures, led by Jaron Blossomgame with 23 points on 10-of-15 shooting and 10 rebounds. He had the game’s only double-double. Drew Eubanks had 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting, seven rebounds, three assists and five blocks. Jordan Green also scored 16 points, while Julian Washburn notched 13 points. Jeff Ledbetter led the bench with 11 points.

The Suns wrapped up their three-game road trip 1-2, and will get to head home for a rematch of the season opener against the Santa Cruz Warriors on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. MT at the Prescott Valley Event Center. The Spurs will play their first road game of the season on Sunday at the Memphis Hustle at 2 p.m. MT.

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