ONTARIO, Calif. – Some hot shooting, some early defense, and some clutch free throws propelled the Northern Arizona Suns over the Agua Caliente Clippers 113-109 on Sunday night.
Playing the fourth and final game of the inaugural season series between the two teams, the Suns shot a team record 58.1 percent from the field (43-of-74) in Ontario, California, to even the series 2-2. The Suns improved to 17-19 and the Clippers dropped to 18-21 as both teams enter the All-Star break.
Archie Goodwin led the Suns with 27 points on 11-of-13 (.846) shooting from the field to go with six rebounds, six assists and two steals. Coming off the bench in the last two games with both Two-Way players currently with NAZ, Goodwin tallied 20+ points in each contest. In 12 games with Northern Arizona on the season, he has scored 20+ points seven times, averaging 18.8 points on 53.4 percent shooting, 6.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.7 steals per game with the Suns.
The ultimate decider might have been Xavier Silas, however, who started and ended the game with a bang. He sank two three-pointers within the first minute-and-a-half to force a Clippers timeout, and sank all four free throws in the last 10 seconds to seal the win. He finished with 26 points on 8-of-11 shooting, including 4-of-5 from distance plus 6-of-6 from the charity stripe, to go with four rebounds and three assists.
The Suns got off to a scorching start, making 13-of-16 (.813) shots from the field in the first quarter, including 4-of-5 from distance. They jumped out to a quick 33-21 lead after the opening frame. The hot shooting continued with the Suns earning a 19-of-25 (.760) clip from the field and a 7-of-9 (.778) from beyond the arc. NAZ finished the first half shooting 21-of-34 (.618) from the field and 8-of-15 (.533) from deep.
The third quarter belonged to Agua Caliente, who managed to make it a four-point game entering the fourth. The Suns were too much though, shooting 60.0 percent in the final frame while only turning the ball over once in the last 12 minuets.
Two NAZ Suns achieved double-doubles, including one who played just his second game in the NBA G League. Lavoy Allen got the start once again for just his second game with Northern Arizona and he made the most of it, recording 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting, 11 rebounds, three assists and three blocks. Shaquille Harrison continued to shine in the new starting point guard role, notching 10 points, 10 assists, nine rebounds and two steals. He has 22 assists over his last two games.
Alec Peters tallied 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting (4-8 from distance) and four rebounds, while Mike Young finished with 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting and three rebounds.
JJ O’Brien led all scorers tonight with 31 points on 12-of-23 shooting, 10 assists, seven rebounds and four steals. Starting alongside him were Dakari Allen (22 points on 10-of-15 shooting) and Ike Iroegbu (18 points, seven rebounds, five assists), who each had solid games.
The Suns don’t play until Wednesday, Feb. 21, when they head to Southaven, Mississippi, to take on the Memphis Hustle at 6 p.m. MT. The Clippers get an even longer break, as they’ll next host the South Bay Lakers on Thursday, Feb. 22, at 8 p.m. MT.