OKLAHOMA CITY – The first half of Saturday night’s game in Oklahoma City was completely one-sided. That side belonged to the Northern Arizona Suns.
The Suns allowed just 35 points in the first 24 minutes, the fewest points they’ve allowed in a first half in team history. Using the record half, the Suns held off the Oklahoma City Blue at the Cox Convention Center 108-93.
The Suns (6-17) have now won four of their last five games, their best five-game span since Feb. 11-27, 2018. The Blue (8-16) dropped their fourth game in a five-game stretch.
The Suns won in wire-to-wire fashion. After taking an 8-5 lead, the Suns used a 17-0 run to lead 22-5 midway through the frame. They led 35-16 after the first quarter. The second quarter was no different, with the Suns’ defense clamping down again. Northern Arizona led at halftime 62-35, enjoying their largest lead of the season at 27 points. They made 24-of-46 (.522) shots in the first half, forcing the Blue to shoot 14-of-43 (.326). NAZ outrebounded Oklahoma City 31-16 through the first 24 minutes.
The Blue didn’t give up, however. Oklahoma City started the third quarter on a 15-0 run to get within 12 points, not allowing the Suns to score a point until the 7:27 mark. The Blue worked their deficit all the way down to nine points midway through the third, but that was as close as they’d get the rest of the game. The Suns led 82-69 after the third quarter and held off a late Blue rally to win comfortably by 15.
The Suns outrebounded the Blue 51-33. The 33 rebounds are the lowest by a Suns’ opponent this season and tied third lowest by a Suns opponent in team history. Northern Arizona improved to 5-4 when outrebounding their opponents this year (0-13 when getting outrebounded).
The Suns outshot the Blue tonight 40-of-80 (.500) from the field and 16-of-38 (.421) from downtown, compared to Oklahoma City’s 34-of-85 (.400) clip, 12-of-46 (.261) from distance.
Trayvon Palmer scored a career-high 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting, including 4-of-4 from distance. He surpassed his previous career-high of 19 points at the Iowa Wolves, set just over a week ago on Jan. 1. He also added 10 rebounds, earning his second double-double of the season, fourth career, his first since Nov. 17 vs. Rio Grande Valley.
Jared Harper recorded his 14th 20+ point game of the season with 20 points, six assists and five rebounds. Unless Iowa’s Jaylen Nowell scores 20+ points against the Stockton Kings tonight, Harper will have the tied most 20+ point games in the league with Nowell, Lakeland’s BJ Johnson and Memphis’ Jarrod Uthoff.
David Krämer keeps showing off his efficiency, tallying 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting, including 2-of-4 from distance, and five rebounds in just 15 minutes. There have been four games in the league this season in which a player has scored 15+ points in 15 or fewer minutes. In just four games overall for Krämer, he has two of those games.
Ike Nwamu made his NAZ Suns debut after joining the team via trade on Jan. 8. He notched 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting. Ahmed Hill had 10 points (4-7 FG, 2-4 3PT) and a career-high nine rebounds.
The Blue were led by Devon Hall’s game-high 26 points on 10-of-17 shooting (3-7 3PT), as he added seven rebounds, three assists and two steals. Markel Brown, Abdul Gaddy and Vincent Edwards scored 15 points apiece. Gaddy added a team-high six assists, while Brown tallied five rebounds and five assists.