Northern Arizona Suns Have Best Record in D-League
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08 December 2016
 
Photo Courtesy: Matt Hinshaw/NAZ Suns
NAZ Suns Pick Up Fifth Straight Win

The wins continue to build for the Northern Arizona Suns as the team beat the Rio Grande Valley Vipers-one of the best teams in the league so far this season at the Prescott Valley Event Center on Wednesday night 110-101 to remain unbeaten at home and improve to 8-1 on the year.

“I’m so excited because we beat a really good team,” said Northern Arizona Suns head coach Ty Ellis following the game. “This team is going to be our nemesis throughout the whole year.”

The win against the Vipers adds another impressive note to an already good start to the season as the team has notched wins against some of the best teams in the league; including beating last year’s champion, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, in late November.

“I feel like these wins are some key wins,” said Northern Arizona Suns guard Josh Gray who scored seven points in the win. “It gives us confidence-it gives us identity-and it gives us a wave to stick on and the momentum to keep winning.”

The Northern Arizona Suns had their hands full on Wednesday night against the Vipers, a team who came in with eight wins, as the Suns ended the first half with just a five-point advantage.

However, as the team has done frequently this season, the Suns came out of the gates in third quarter blazing hot and outscored the Vipers 26-17 to take an 81-68 lead into the final quarter of play.

The Vipers would jump back in the final quarter as the team shrunk a double-digit Suns score into a 7-point deficit with mere minutes to play but the Suns were able to hold on for the victory.

‘I thought we were going to run away with it after the third quarter but it shows you that this is a good team,” Ellis said. “They got great players and it’s not over until it’s over.”

“So this is an opportunity for us to grow and to mature-that we have to play until the final horn,” Ellis continued.

All five starters for the Northern Arizona Suns notched double digit points in the win as Johnny O’Bryant lead the team with 20, Eli Millsap picked up 18 points, Derrick Jones Jr. scored 15 on the night with some impressive dunks, Askia Booker added 14 while Shaquille Harrison rounded out the starters with 11.

The Northern Arizona Suns and the Rio Grande Valley Vipers return to the Prescott Valley Event Center on Friday for a rematch. Ellis said the win on Wednesday provided a good sample size for the team as it showed where the NAZ Suns had weakness.

“They killed us on the offensive glass and we got to get better,” Ellis said.

Ellis mentioned the team allowed three corner triples while Darius Morris gave the Suns a fit scoring 29 points on the night.

“We will watch video and we will come back the next game strong,” Ellis said.

The Northern Arizona Suns look to remain un-beaten at home and add to their five game winning streak against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers at the Prescott Valley Event Center on Friday. Tip-off is 7pm.  

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

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