PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – There were turnovers galore in Prescott Valley, but the Northern Arizona Suns couldn’t take advantage.
The Suns forced 31 turnovers out of the South Bay Lakers at the Findlay Toyota Center Saturday night as they dropped a nail-biter 124-120. The Suns (2-16) fell for the 14th straight time, tying their longest losing streak in team history. The Lakers (9-9) snapped their season-long four-game losing streak.
The Suns came out firing away, snagging a 23-12 lead midway through the first, ending the quarter up 36-25 thanks to nine forced turnovers. Tariq Owens had 10 points alone in the first on 4-of-5 shooting. In the second quarter, the Lakers widely outshot the Suns, but with a 6-1 turnover advantage to the Suns, Northern Arizona went into the locker room up 58-57 after Aaron Epps made a mid-range jumper right before the buzzer.
Both teams shot well in the third quarter, with South Bay up 90-84 entering the final frame. To start the fourth quarter, the Lakers began on a 10-0 run to go up 16 points. The Suns still trailed by 16 with 7:17 left (109-93), before going on a 16-2 run over three minutes of action to make it a two-point game. They’d cut it to a one-point deficit with less than a minute to go three times, but even with all the momentum in their favor, time ran out on Northern Arizona.
The Suns scored 37 points off of 31 turnovers, the most turnovers the Suns have forced in a game in team history, surpassing the 30 forced at Santa Cruz on Nov. 18, 2018. The Suns only had 10 giveaways themselves, winning the turnover battle by 21. The Lakers survived that discrepancy with one of their own, beating the Suns on the boards 60-29, tied for the third most rebounds the Suns have allowed in team history. South Bay made 44-of-88 (.500) shots from the field, 17-of-33 (.515) from distance. Northern Arizona made 44-of-100 (.440) field goals, 14-of-42 (.333) from deep.
Jared Harper earned his third straight 20+ point game and 11th of the season with 27 points, seven assists, and a career-high four steals. Owens just missed a career-high in scoring with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting, to go with a team-high eight rebounds and two blocks.
Seven Suns scored in double figures, including Jalen Lecque (14 points, four rebounds), Daxter Miles Jr. (14 points), Epps (13 points, five rebounds), ShawnDre Jones (12 points) and Trayvon Palmer (10 points).
South Bay was led by a duo off the bench. Devontae Cacok had 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting, 17 rebounds (nine offensive) and a block. Reggie Hearn had 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting and seven rebounds. Zach Norvell Jr. notched 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting (4-6 3PT) and eight rebounds. Kostas Antetokounmpo recorded 14 points (6-9 FG), five rebounds and four blocks.
The Suns will hit the road for two games, first at the Iowa Wolves on New Year’s Day (Wednesday) at 12 p.m. MT. The Lakers play on New Year’s Eve next at home against Texas at 8 p.m. MT.