Suns Shoot Well But Drop First of Back-to-Back Set

By Jacob Withee | February 8, 2020

PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona Suns shot well all night in a competitive affair on Friday. The problem is, so did the Austin Spurs.

The Suns made 42-of-80 (.525) from the field, including 18-of-34 (.529) from distance, in their 130-122 loss at the Findlay Toyota Center, dropping their fifth straight to fall to 8-25. The Spurs made 46-of-85 (.541) from the floor, including 13-of-33 (.394) from deep, as they won their fourth straight contest, improving to 19-13. The Spurs are just one win shy of matching their total from all of last season.

Both teams were firing early, with the Spurs owning a 23-21 lead less than seven minutes into the game. From there, Austin went on a 9-0 run to take an 11-point advantage, but the Suns answered with a 9-2 run to get within four. In the second quarter, both teams cooled off, but Austin hit the boards (15-8) to enter the locker room up 59-52.

Up 63-57 in the third quarter, the Spurs went on an 11-2 run to go up 15 points, and followed with their largest lead of the game at 18 points at the 3:34 mark, 86-68. The Suns closed the quarter on a 20-7 run, with Matt Farrell nailing a three-pointer just before the buzzer against his old team to get the Suns within five entering the final frame, 93-88. Both teams were red hot in the fourth quarter, with the Suns shooting 13-of-19 (.684), including 6-of-10 (.600) from distance, while Austin was at 12-of-21 (.571) from the field. Northern Arizona got as close as four down, 113-109, with 4:24 left, but Austin did not relent.

Austin outrebounded Northern Arizona 40-32, and scored 29 points off of 18 Suns turnovers, while allowing just 14 points on 12 miscues.

Jared Harper scored his 20th 20+ point game of the season with 29 points on 8-of-14 shooting, including 3-of-4 from deep, plus 6-of-7 from the stripe, adding four assists in 28 minutes. He’s tied Xavier Silas (2017-18) for the third most 20+ point games in a single-season in team history.

In just his 11th game with the Suns, Ike Nwamu has already scored the most 20+ point games off the bench in a single-season in team history with 25 points (9-18 FG, 4-8 3PT), four assists, three rebounds and two steals. It marked his sixth 20+ point game with NAZ, as he surpassed Josh Gray, who had five 20+ point games off the bench in 2016-17.

Tariq Owens tallied 14 points on 7-of-12 shooting and nine rebounds tonight. Jalen Lecque had nine points and six assists, while Farrell finished with nine points and eight rebounds.

Austin’s Chimezie Metu led the team with 24 points on 10-of-12 shooting (2-2 3PT), to go with six rebounds. Drew Eubanks led the Spurs’ bench with 20 points (5-8 FG, 6-6 FT), adding six rebounds and two blocks in 20 minutes. Luka Samanic (18 points, four rebounds), Quinndary Weatherspoon (17 points, eight rebounds, seven assists) and Keldon Johnson (17 points, 7-13 FG, seven rebounds, two steals) all started and scored 17+ points each.

The Suns will have no time for rest, playing the second game of a back-to-back set tomorrow against the Agua Caliente Clippers at the Findlay Toyota Center at 5 p.m. MT. The Spurs will next play Sunday at home against the Santa Cruz Warriors at 3 p.m. MT.

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