Suns Starting Backcourt Shines in Loss to Warriors

By Jacob Withee | December 15, 2019

PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona Suns couldn’t have asked for more from their starting backcourt on Sunday.

Daxter Miles Jr. and Jared Harper shined in the contest, combining for 47 points in the Suns’ 110-100 loss to the Santa Cruz Warriors at the Findlay Toyota Center on Buckets’ Birthday Luau.

The Suns (2-12) lost their 10th consecutive game, while the Warriors (8-8) won consecutive games for the first time since a three-game winning streak from Nov. 9-15.

Miles led all scorers with 26 points on 8-of-16 shooting, including 5-of-9 from distance, to go with five rebounds. He has consecutive 20+ point games for the first time this season, his second career stretch (three games, Dec. 1-6, 2018). Over the last two games, he’s averaged 26.5 PPG on 17-of-31 (.548) shooting, 10-of-18 (.556) from distance, and 5.0 RPG. Harper notched his eighth 20+ point game of the season with 21 points (6-6 FT) and three assists.

The Suns had a great start to this one, beginning the contest on an 18-7 run, quickly getting their largest lead of the game. The Warriors took the rest of the frame 12-4 to end the first down 22-19. The second quarter was back-and-forth, with the Warriors ending the first half on top 48-46.

The third quarter was just as close, with no team leading by more than seven. The Suns didn’t turn it over in the third, but the Warriors took a 73-70 lead after three. After the Suns took an 80-75 lead with 9:38 left in the game, the Warriors went on a 16-0 run until the five-minute mark. From there, Northern Arizona was able to get within seven points a couple times, but the Warriors had it in hand for the most part.

The Suns tied their season-low in turnovers with just 12. The Warriors earned 14 more shot attempts thanks to a 13-4 offensive rebound advantage, 54-38 in total rebounds.

Tariq Owens earned his team-leading fourth double-double today with 12 points (5-7 FG), 10 rebounds, three assists and three blocks. Anthony Lawrence II (11 points, six rebounds, four assists) and ShawnDre Jones (11 points) also scored 10+ points.

Santa Cruz was led by Alen Smailagic’s 25 points on 9-of-16 shooting, including 5-of-7 from distance, to go with six rebounds. Juan Toscano-Anderson had a big double-double off the bench with 24 points (9-14 FG, 4-5 3PT) and 14 rebounds. Ky Bowman almost had a triple-double, recording 18 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.

The Suns remain home for a Tuesday night matchup against the Salt Lake City Stars at 6:30 p.m. MT. The Warriors will play at the Agua Caliente Clippers on Tuesday at 8 p.m. MT.