NAZ Suns Offense Overpowers Warriors to Break Losing Streak
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05 February 2017
 
Photo by: Matt Hinshaw
Millsap and Cooke Jr. Achieve Double-Doubles in NAZ Suns Win

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PRESCOTT VALLEY- Five Northern Arizona Suns players scored double-digit points included two who notched a double-double as the NAZ Suns broke their five-game losing streak on Saturday, beating the Santa Cruz Warriors 108-93 in front of over 2,500 fans at the Prescott Valley Event Center.

“It’s a good win for us,” NAZ Suns guard Michael Bryson said. “Making everybody want to play for each other is the biggest thing right now.”

After a tie in the first quarter, the Northern Arizona Suns broke out in the second quarter to outscore the Warriors by ten behind Askia Booker’s eight points. The NAZ Suns would continue to keep it rolling in the final half, outscoring Santa Cruz 53-48 in order to cruise for the victory.

Xavier Silas drained a season-high 22 points on the night to lead the team while Booker picked up 19 points and eight assists. Elijah Millsap and Derek Cooke Jr. each achieved double-doubles as Millsap had 18 points to go along with ten rebounds while Cooke Jr. notched 13 on the scoreboard and grabbed 15 rebounds, nine of which came on the offensive glass.

“That’s consistent energy, that’s consistent sacrifice,” said Northern Arizona Suns head coach Ty Ellis speaking of Cooke Jr.’s fantastic night gathering offensive rebounds. “Derek Cooke Jr. changed the game for us.”

After streaking to one of the best records in the D-League to begin the season, the Northern Arizona Suns have taken a few steps back the previous two months as the team fell under a .500 record. The team looks a bit different from the original roster with key contributors Derek Jones Jr. and Johnny O’Bryant graduating to the NBA. However, after the win on Saturday night, the team believes a corner was turned.

“We are finally finding the chemistry and figuring out how to work together,” Silas said. “We have a second half of the season that we really need to worry about and that’s when you really want to play your best basketball is that second half of the season going into the playoffs, want to get everything out of the way now.”

Many around the league were surprised to hear the name Derek Jones Jr. as a participant in the upcoming slam-dunk contest at the NBA All-Star festivities in New Orleans. While many don’t know the talent of the player named “airplane mode”, his former coach is banking on a good performance and is excited for Jones Jr. to represent the Suns organization and Prescott Valley.

“I’m proud, everybody’s proud,” Ellis said. “For the fans and just everybody in the Prescott Valley community, that’s a win for us and we should be proud of him and I’m going to go on record now-he’s going to win.”

The Northern Arizona Suns (13-15) once again embark on a long road trip starting with a matchup against the Delaware 87ers (16-14) on Tuesday and won’t return to the Prescott Valley Event Center until Wednesday February 22nd for a matchup against the Windy City Bulls.

All Photos by Matt Hinshaw @ Hinshaw Photography unless noted otherwise.

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Torrence Dunham

Torrence Dunham "TD" is a multimedia journalist who graduated with a Bachelor's Degree from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.  Torrence is our PrescottValleyeNews.com Correspondent covering local news and events in Prescott Valley. He is also the lead sports correspondent and play-by-play pro for all our multimedia news sites. If he's not adding to his extensive sports bobble-head collection, he's talking baseball, his favorite. Follow him on Twitter: @Tadunham.


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