FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Northern Arizona Suns came all the way back from a 29-point deficit to take the lead against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants on Sunday.
What would have been the largest come-from-behind win in NAZ Suns history was thwarted by Fort Wayne’s Ben Moore. He followed a missed shot with a made layup of his own with a second left to give the Mad Ants a 118-116 win.
Xavier Silas got a three-point attempt off at the buzzer, but it came up short, and the Suns lost consecutive games by a single possession.
Northern Arizona (3-5) continued its shooting woes in the first half of Sunday’s game, shooting 16-of-44 from the field (.364) to fall behind 74-47 at halftime. The Suns had just shot a season-low 35.0 percent in their loss on Tuesday against the Austin Spurs.
Fort Wayne, who is tied with the South Bay Lakers for the best record in the NBA G League at 7-1, shot 31-of-51 (.608) over the first 24 minutes. Walter Lemon Jr. tallied 29 points in the first half alone on 13-of-16 shooting, to go with seven rebounds.
The Mad Ants scored the first two points of the third quarter to put their lead at 29 points. The Suns were able to get that deficit down to 17 points at the end of the third frame.
Northern Arizona took over in the fourth, going on a 10-0 run to cut the deficit down to nine points, and whittled away throughout the entire frame to even lead a few times in the closing minutes. The Suns shot 15-of-22 (.682) in the fourth quarter and only turned the ball over once, but a missed defensive rebound turned into a Moore follow-up layup and a loss for NAZ.
Josh Gray tied his career-high 30 points on 11-of-20 shooting, including 5-of-8 from behind the arc, off the bench. This is the fourth time Gray has scored 30 points in his career, three times this season. He scored 26 points in the second half to lead the Suns on their comeback attempt.
Askia Booker tallied a 4×4, recording 27 points, six assists, five rebounds and four steals.
Silas scored 24 points on 9-of-17 shooting, including 6-of-14 from three-point land, to go with four rebounds and three steals. He became the 52nd player in NBA G League history to score 2,000 career points with a three-pointer in the third quarter.
Shaquille Harrison earned his first start of the season and notched 11 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals. Eric Stuteville had a career-day with 11 points and nine rebounds. He had six points over six games entering Sunday.
Lemon finished with 37 points on 16-of-25 shooting, nine rebounds and six assists.
The Mad Ants’ starting five scored 103 points as a group, with Jarrod Uthoff (23 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks), CJ Fair (18 points, five rebounds), DeQuan Jones (14 points, five rebounds) and Stephan Hicks (11 points, six rebounds) all earning big games.
The Suns forced 24 turnovers while only giving up 13 possessions themselves, but Fort Wayne won the rebounding battle 46-33.
Northern Arizona will head to Delaware for a Tuesday night matchup against the 87ers at 4:30 p.m. MT. Fort Wayne gets to play the second best team in the Eastern Conference, the Wisconsin Herd, on the road on Tuesday at 6 p.m. MT.