NEWARK, Del. — The Delaware 87ers (2-8) threw shade at the Northern Arizona Suns (3-6) by a final score of 103-96 at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark, Delaware. The Sevens earned their first home victory of the season and have now won two straight games. Delaware had a slim lead throughout most of the contest and used a 29-point fourth quarter to finish off Northern Arizona.
Here are three takeaways from the 87ers’ first and only meeting with the Northern Arizona Suns:
Delaware turned its defensive intensity up a notch
Head Coach Eugene Burroughs was adamant before the game that his team’s biggest focus was defense. Burroughs relayed the idea that if the Sevens’ defense was up to snuff, the rest would take care of itself. He was spot on with his assessment. The 87ers played a ferocious brand of basketball from the jump, closing out on three-point shooters and hounding would-be drivers. Nothing came easy for the Suns tonight. Northern Arizona entered the game tops in the G League with an average of 15 makes from distance per game, but Delaware held the Suns to just 7-26 from beyond the arc. Northern Arizona also committed 20 turnovers and had only 14 assists on 35 made baskets.
Darin Johnson made the most of his court time
It’s a long road from G League draft pick to G League rotation player, but Darin Johnson is traveling it with aplomb. He’s slowly but surely upped his productivity as his opportunity to play has expanded and tonight was his best game as a pro. Johnson spent his 18 minutes racking up 13 points, four rebounds and a steal. He shot 6-9 from the field, had a highlight-reel dunk and played annoying defense throughout. Look for Johnson to remain a permanent fixture in the Sevens’ rotation if he keeps this up.
This was going to be a close game and Delaware made plays when it counted
Northern Arizona came into the game 3-5. The Suns three wins were by a combined 15 points, while their five losses were by a total of 14 points. Additionally, the team hadn’t played in a game where the margin of victory was greater than nine. The Sevens have had their share of late-game struggles in the past, but the team took a step forward this evening. Delaware won the fourth quarter 29-24, got big shots down the stretch from the likes of Devin Robinson, Furkan Korkmaz, Christian Wood and Jacob Pullen and maintained the same level of intensity on defense that it had early in the game. This was truly a team win.