PRESCOTT VALLEY, Arizona — Three Suns scored 22 points apiece in a thriller at the Findlay Toyota Center on Tuesday night between the Northern Arizona Suns and Texas Legends, with all four quarters decided by four points or less.
Neither team led by double figures through the first three quarters, and after the Legends took a 15-point lead in the fourth, the Suns stormed back to make it interesting late. The Suns (2-10) ended up losing 123-114 to the Legends (8-5).
The Suns dropped this one despite their impressive shooting, as they made 44-of-84 (.524) from the field, including 15-of-28 (.536) from the three-point line. The Legends also shot well, finishing 48-of-96 (.500) from the floor, 14-of-36 (.389) from distance, with the differences coming on the boards (46-36 Texas) and turnovers (Texas scored 28 points off of 19 NAZ miscues).
Both teams had it going right off the bat, with the Suns bench coming through in the first half. Four of the Suns’ five leading scorers in the first 24 minutes were reserves, combining for 38 of the team’s 59 points. The Legends took a 65-59 lead to the locker room.
In the third quarter, the Suns made 12-of-20 (.600) shots, 6-of-9 (.667) from deep, but they were only able to win the frame 32-31 because of an 11-0 Texas advantage in second chance points. Jalen Lecque nailed a deep shot at the buzzer to make it a five-point deficit, 96-91, for Northern Arizona entering the fourth. The Legends jumped out to an 11-1 run to start the fourth quarter to take their biggest lead of the game. They would remain up double figures until the 1:29 mark, when the Suns battled back to get within six. Some late missteps stalled Northern Arizona from getting any closer.
Aaron Epps had a season-best game, achieving his first double-double of the year with a season-high 22 points (9-11 FG, 4-5 3PT) and season-high 10 rebounds. That’s his 12th career double-double. He’s just one short of tying Derek Cooke Jr. and Elijah Millsap for the most in Suns history.
Ahmed Hill earned his second 20+ point game in the last four contests, posting 22 points (9-12 FG, 4-5 3PT), five rebounds and two steals. Jared Harper reached double-digit scoring for the 10th time this season, also scoring 22 points (5-5 FT), adding a career-high eight assists.
Northern Arizona had 59 points off the bench, thanks to Epps, Anthony Lawrence II (15 points, 6-10 FG, seven rebounds, four assists) and Lecque (13 points, 6-12 FG, three assists).
Texas also had three players reach 20+ points, led by Dakota Mathias’ 23 points (7-14 FG, 5-11 3PT), to go with five rebounds. Moses Brown had 20 points (10-16 FG), 11 rebounds and two blocks. Josh Reaves tallied 20 points (8-13 FG), six rebounds, four assists and three steals. Nate Mason dished out a team-high 11 assists to go with nine points and three steals.