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NAZ Suns Falter In Fourth Quarter and Lose to Raptors 905

02 March 2017  
Photo Courtesy: Matt Hinshaw/NAZ Suns
NAZ Suns Miss Ten Free-Throws in Fourth Quarter

PRESCOTT VALLEY- Entering the fourth quarter with a seven-point lead against the Raptors 905, who had won six straight games entering the contest on Wednesday night, it looked like the Northern Arizona Suns might pick up a another win against a first place team after beating the Los Angeles Defenders on Sunday afternoon. However, the team struggled mightily at the free throw line in the fourth quarter-missing ten free throws-which allowed the Raptors 905 to claw back and exit the Prescott Valley Event Center with a 102-97 victory.

“That’s a good team, but we are too, and we gave them that game,” Northern Arizona Suns head coach Ty Ellis said after the game. “Our lack of discipline, our lack of focus, and our lack of energy, they capitalized on it.”

The Northern Arizona Suns came out of the gates sluggish early as the Raptors jumped to a 9-2 advantage in the first three minutes and ended the quarter outscoring the NAZ Suns by nine.

However, the NAZ Suns would wake up in the second quarter and found success from beyond the arch, draining six three-pointers and outscored the Raptors 905 by 16 points in the quarter.

After matching each other with 25 points in the third quarter, the Northern Arizona Suns entered the fourth quarter with a seven-point advantage. The lead would quickly dissipate as the Raptors 905 began the final quarter with a 10-2 run, erasing the deficit and taking the lead. Northern Arizona had their chances at the free throw line, entering the bonus with over seven minutes remaining. However, the team would only end up taking advantage of five chances out of fifteen as the Raptors held on for the victory.

“Lack of focus,” Ellis said. “99.9% of the time we lose, it’s my fault and I’m going to take that. This one right here, they were well coached and they were well prepared. That’s on them.”

Five Northern Arizona Suns players achieved double digit points in the loss as Xavier Sylas lead the team with 26 points, which included six three-pointers. Guard Askia Booker added 17 points, Alex Davis notched 14, Michael Bryson had 12 and Shaquille Harrison picked up 11 points.

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Meanwhile, the Raptors were powered by forward Will Sheehey who lead the team with 18 points and Brady Heslip, who added 17 points to the effort. In total, six Raptors players notched double digit points.

Gray mentioned the team will use the off day on Thursday to learn from their mistakes during the game on Wednesday night before returning to the court at the Prescott Valley Event Center to face off against the Los Angeles Defenders again on Friday.

“We might have needed this game to refocus, reenergize,” NAZ Suns guard Josh Gray said. “Every night is not going to be perfect, but we are going to learn from it and get better.”

The team needs every win they can get from here on out to have a chance at cracking the playoffs in their inaugural season. Currently, the Northern Arizona Suns have thirteen games remaining-only five of which are at home-and are 3.5 games out of a playoff spot and must jump over division-rival Santa Cruz.

Tip-off against the Los Angeles Defenders on Friday is 7pm.

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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