PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – It was a thriller at the Findlay Toyota Center Wednesday night between the Northern Arizona Suns and Iowa Wolves, largely thanks to three Phoenix Suns players.
Ty Jerome, Tariq Owens, and Jared Harper all had huge nights in the Suns’ 138-131 loss. NAZ dropped its 12th straight game to fall to 8-32, while Iowa (18-22) snapped a four-game losing streak.
Jerome was assigned earlier today by the Phoenix Suns and suited up for Northern Arizona for the first time since Nov. 30. He made a huge impact right away, finishing with career-highs across the board with 23 points, nine assists, five rebounds and four steals. He earned a game-high +17 in plus-minus in his 30 minutes of action.
Owens recorded his team-leading eighth double-double of the season with 20 points on 10-of-13 shooting, 11 rebounds, five assists, a steal and a block. It’s his second 20+ point game of the season and his second double-double in the last three games.
Harper played in his first game since Feb. 7, and he immediately went to work, achieving his second double-double of the year and his first since Dec. 20 with 18 points, 11 assists, four rebounds and three steals. This was his third 10+ assist game this year, now the tied third most such games in team history (ShawnDre Jones and Retin Obasohan).
This one was high scoring right away, with both teams scoring 30+ points, to go with seven ties and four lead changes in the first frame, as the Suns led 33-31 after the quarter. Midway through the second quarter, the Suns held their largest lead of the game at 10, 53-43. Iowa responded with a 18-2 run to lead by six and finished the half up 67-64.
Just after the start of the third quarter with the Wolves up a point, they enjoyed an 11-0 run to go up by 12, 78-66. The Suns were down 95-85 before closing the frame on a 6-0 spurt to trail 95-91 entering the fourth. With Iowa up 100-95, the Suns didn’t score for over four minutes of action, as the Wolves went on a 15-0 run to go up by 20. The Suns trailed 123-105 with 3:54 left before they would make things interesting, going on a 13-3 run to get within eight. They’d get as close as seven in the closing seconds, which ended up being the final margin.
The Suns obliterated their season-high in scoring with the 131 points, outscoring their 123-point game on Jan. 17 vs. Sioux Falls. Unfortunately for Northern Arizona, they also allowed a season-high 138 points, more than the 132 points scored by the Wolves in Prescott Valley on Nov. 26. The Suns outshot the Wolves 53-of-102 (.520) to 47-of-96 (.490), but there was a wide disparity in free throws, with the Wolves making 25-of-29 (.862) to Northern Arizona’s 8-of-13 (.615) clip. The Wolves also outrebounded the Suns 57-40, making up for their 26 turnovers compared to 16 takeaways.
Ike Nwamu extended his career-long streak of scoring in double figures to 13 games with 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting, to go with five rebounds. This was Nwamu’s eighth 20+ point game with the Suns. Each member of the Suns’ starting five scored 10+ points, including Aaron Epps (14 points, 7-14 FG, five rebounds), Jalen Lecque (13 points) and Trayvon Palmer (11 points, 5-8 FG, four rebounds, two steals).
Four different Wolves players scored 20+ points, led by James Webb III’s 25 points on 7-of-14 shooting, plus 9-of-9 mark from the free throw line. He also added 12 rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Jarred Vanderbilt recorded 24 points (9-17 FG, 2-3 3PT) and 14 rebounds. Lindell Wigginton notched 20 points, six rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks. Barry Brown finished with 20 points (7-14 FG), six assists, five rebounds and two steals.
The Suns head to Texas for a back-to-back, beginning Friday at the Austin Spurs at 6:30 p.m. MT. The Wolves wrap up their three-game road trip on Friday at the Salt Lake City Stars at 7 p.m. MT.