Suns’ Game-Winning Shot Attempt Falls Short in Loss to Mad Ants

By Jacob Withee | March 16, 2017

PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – As many times as the Northern Arizona Suns rallied on Wednesday night, they couldn’t quite get over the hump.

So, fittingly, they ran out of time when they were right on the verge of taking their first lead of the game, which would have also given them the win. With .5 seconds left and down one, the Suns threw the ball in and Xavier Silas got a good look as time expired, but the shot came up just short. As a result, NAZ lost 123-122 to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants at the Prescott Valley Event Center.

The crowd was shocked when Silas missed the game-winner because he hasn’t been missing much of anything of late. Following his 37-point performance in which he made nine three-pointers, Silas tallied a game-high 29 points on 9-of-14 shooting, including 4-of-7 from beyond the arc. He also made 7-of-9 from the free throw line.

The Mad Ants (25-18) were led by Tyler Hansbrough, who wreaked havoc in the paint all night. He finished with the game’s lone double-double, recording 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting and 12 rebounds. His great play inside gave fits to the Suns (21-22), as Fort Wayne scored 62 points in the paint compared to 48 inside by NAZ.

Even though they lost, the Suns don’t lose any ground in the standings. The Sioux Falls Skyforce also dropped one today, meaning Northern Arizona is still 4.0 games away from the final playoff spot with seven games to go.

Elijah Millsap tallied 15 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals, while Washington Wizards’ assignee earned his best game in a Suns uniform, scoring 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting, to go with six rebounds.

Derek Cooke Jr. (15 points on 7-of-9 shooting) and Michael Bryson (12 points on 4-of-5 shooting from distance) powered the Suns’ bench. Josh Gray also did well off the bench, achieving eight points, seven assists and five rebounds.

Fort Wayne’s Trey McKinney-Jones tallied 25 points and eight rebounds, while four other Mad Ants scored at least 16 points. Jordan Loyd and Marquis Teague each had 18 points, Travis Leslie put up 17 points, while Alex Poythress contributed 16 points.

The Suns fall under .500 and now have to hit the road for three games, heading to Rio Grande Valley next for a Friday game at 5 p.m. PT. The Mad Ants closed out their six-game road trip 3-3, and will get to head home for a Saturday matchup with the Delaware 87ers at 4 p.m. PT.

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