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Suns Drop Battle of the 2020 Undefeateds

By Jacob Withee | January 10, 2020

CEDAR PARK, Texas – The Northern Arizona Suns and Austin Spurs both entered Thursday night’s matchup unblemished in 2020, so something had to give. In a tight game throughout, it was the Spurs who ended up on top, winning in Cedar Park, Texas, 109-102.

The Suns (5-17) had their season-long three-game winning streak snapped. The Spurs (14-9) extended their season-long winning streak to five games, their longest winning streak since March 2-7, 2018 (six games).

Norense Odiase tied a Suns’ team-record tonight, as he grabbed 17 rebounds, tied for the most rebounds ever by a Suns player in a game (three others, last by Elijah Millsap on Feb. 9, 2017). He earned his fourth double-double of the season by adding 10 points off the bench. This is his third straight game with 10+ rebounds and fifth over his last seven contests. Over that span, he’s averaged 11.3 rebounds.

Jared Harper continued his prolific scoring effort with a game-high 24 points on 10-of-16 shooting, to go with four rebounds and three assists. This marked his 13th 20+ point game of the season, the most such games on the team.

All five members of the Suns starting five scored in double figures for the first time this season (first since March 10, 2019, vs. Texas). Anthony Lawrence II notched 14 points, six rebounds and three assists. Ahmed Hill had 12 points and three rebounds. Tariq Owens recorded 11 points (4-8 FG) and eight rebounds. Trayvon Palmer finished with 10 points, four rebounds and three assists. David Krämer, playing his third game with the NAZ Suns, scored a career-high 15 points on 4-of-7 shooting, including 3-of-5 from distance, in 14 minutes off the bench.

The Suns began this one on a promising note, scoring the game’s first seven points. The Spurs answered right back with a 7-0 spurt of their own to tie it. Neither team led by more than five the rest of the quarter and it finished knotted at 28. The second quarter was neck-and-neck too, with neither team leading by more than six points. The Spurs held a 59-56 lead at halftime.

Again, there was no breathing room for either team in the third quarter. The Suns outshot the Spurs in the frame, but the quarter tied at 25 with Austin taking an 84-81 lead to the fourth quarter. In the final frame, the Spurs started on a 12-2 run to take their largest lead of the game at 13 points. The Suns would get as close as six with 1:39 left, but the Spurs made free throws to put it to bed. There were 13 lead changes and nine ties in the game.

The Suns outshot the Spurs 36-of-80 (.450) from the field and 11-of-36 (.306) from distance, compared to Austin’s 39-of-93 (.419) clip from the floor, 9-of-34 (.265) from deep. Austin got 13 more shot attempts in the game, even though they were outrebounded 48-41, because they forced 10 more turnovers (20-10).

Austin was led by Keldon Johnson’s 22 points, to go with four rebounds and three assists. Fellow starters Luka Samanic (18 points, seven rebounds, two blocks), Angel Rodriguez (17 points, four steals) and Quinndary Weatherspoon (12 points, five rebounds) joined Johnson in double figures. Daulton Hommes powered Austin’s bench with 13 points (4-6 FG, 3-5 3PT).

The Suns will make the next stop on their three-game road trip at Oklahoma City on Saturday at 6 p.m. MT. The Spurs will hit the road for a pair, beginning at South Bay on Sunday at 6 p.m. MT.

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