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Suns Make Late Push, Can’t Keep Up with Skyforce

By Jacob Withee | January 6, 2019

PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona Suns shot lights out in the final frame to get back in the contest, but the Sioux Falls Skyforce were still too much, as the Suns lost at home 113-105.

Playing at the renamed Findlay Toyota Center for the first time on Sunday afternoon, the Suns (3-22) shot 15-of-24 (.625) in the fourth quarter, scoring a season-high 38 points in the final frame. The 38 points were their most in the fourth quarter all season, and tied their best quarter overall (first quarter vs. Agua Caliente on Nov. 16). The Skyforce (16-9) would not be denied at the end either, shooting 13-of-23 (.565) themselves in the final 12 minutes, only dropping the quarter 38-33.

The Suns couldn’t take advantage of Sioux Falls’ misfortune, who was playing without leading scorer Yante Maten, out with a right ankle injury. The Suns fell behind by 15 points quickly, as Sioux Falls’ Duncan Robinson scored 14 points in the opening frame thanks to four made three-pointers. Sioux Falls led 33-19 after the first and remained up by 14 at halftime. After going up 2-0 to start the game, the Suns were never able to get the lead back, although they got their deficit down to seven points in the fourth quarter, once trailing by 20.

Hollis Thompson led the Suns with 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting, 13 rebounds, two steals and a block. This marked his first double-double in almost two years, last reaching the milestone on Feb. 12, 2017, at the Los Angeles D-Fenders while with the Austin Spurs. This was also Thompson’s third 20+ point game in six contests with the Suns.

George King dished out a career-high nine assists to go with 18 points, five rebounds and two steals. Eric Stuteville just missed out on a season-high in scoring, notching 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting, six rebounds and four assists. Aaron Epps powered the bench with 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting.

Sioux Falls’ Robinson finished with a game-high 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including 7-of-11 from downtown, to go with five rebounds. Charles Cooke III recorded 19 points on 8-of-16 shooting, eight rebounds and two steals, with new Skyforce forward Emanuel Terry leading the bench with 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting, seven rebounds and two blocks.

This was the first win by the road team in this series history, as the Suns were 4-0 at home before today, and the Skyforce are 5-0 at home against NAZ. The Suns dropped their 12th straight contest and eighth straight game at home, both the longest marks in team history.

The Suns now hit the road for four games, beginning in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where they’ll face the Herd on Wednesday at 6 p.m. MT. The Skyforce will head west to play the Agua Caliente Clippers on Tuesday at 8 p.m. MT.

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