PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. — The Northern Arizona Suns hadn’t been beaten at home and were riding a seven-game win streak into the Prescott Valley Event Center Wednesday night against the Santa Cruz Warriors. The Warriors were sharp from the three-point line and got great play from their bench to take the Suns down 107-93.
Warriors’ Scott Wood led all scorers with 22 points on 6-of-11 shooting, including 5-of-7 from beyond the arc. He also tallied six rebounds.
Wood was one of three Santa Cruz starters to score in double figures, as Northern Arizona University product Cameron Jones scored 18 points, and Mychel Thompson recorded 10 points and six rebounds.
But the Warriors’ bench was the main reason for the win, despite the team only being 10 players deep. Alex Hamilton scored 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out five assists. Newly acquired forward James Southerland scored 12 points, while Elgin Cook dropped 10 points out of the 50 total points the Warriors got from their reserves.
The bench doubled up Northern Arizona’s 50-25.
“I don’t think we were ready for their best,” Suns head coach Ty Ellis said. “I’ve told the guys countless times that with us being one of the better teams in the league, each team is prepared to play their best. Each coaching staff has their best coaching against us. They have their best plan, and our guys – I saw this coming to be honest with you.”
The Suns didn’t really get off to a slow start, scoring 30 points on 50 percent shooting in the first quarter. But they were unable to come back from their 6-for-29 (20.7 percent) shooting second quarter, where they were outscored 27-14.
Forward/center Alan Williams and guard Tyler Ulis were assigned to NAZ from the Phoenix Suns Wednesday, just hours before this game started. Both players played well, with Williams falling a rebound shy of a double-double, earning 20 points and nine rebounds, and Ulis falling an assist shy of a double-double, finishing with 13 points and nine assists.
Even though both players put up big numbers, was there a question of continuity and camaraderie problems?
“I think that’s an excuse that I’m not going to allow to accept, because Alan and Ty, they had nothing to do with our guys going under [the screen] against Wood. Our lack of discipline, they had nothing to do with that,” Ellis said. “So Alan and Ty, I’m thankful that they came to play with us, but quite frankly, we weren’t ready.”
Elijah Millsap tallied 13 points and nine rebounds, Derrick Jones Jr. finished with 13 points and five rebounds, while Xavier Silas was the lone player off the bench to reach double-digit scoring, adding 12 points.