NAZ Suns Fall In Final Minute to Nets

17 November 2017
NAZ Suns guard Josh Gray battles for the layup against the Long Island Nets on Thursday, November 16th, 2017 in Prescott Valley, Arizona. All Photos by: Torrence Dunham
NAZ Suns Erase Double-Digit Deficit but Can't Overcome Last Second Three-Point Basket In Loss to Nets

PRESCOTT VALLEY- There were many moments that mattered at the Prescott Valley Event Center Thursday night, November 16th, between the Long Island Nets and the Northern Arizona Suns in a game that had ten ties and twelve lead changes. However, no moment may have been more important than what many thought was a backcourt violation on Long Island that was not called with under a minute left and the NAZ Suns up by one-point. That possession later turned into a three-point basket and the NAZ Suns didn’t recover in a 117-115 defeat.

“We’ve taken the initiative to add a fourth official and the game is on the line, people put a lot into this,” Northern Arizona Suns Head Coach Cody Toppert said after the game. “We (had) other opportunities along that way that we squandered…but to have it ripped out from under you is definitely heartbreaking.”

A few of these opportunities came at the start of the game where the NAZ Suns struggled to a 24-10 deficit in the opening six minutes.

The team would decrease the deficit to seven at the end of the first quarter and go forward to outscore the Long Island Nets in the following two quarters, leading to a tie at 92 entering the final frame of play.

The game went back-and-forth in a highly-contested fourth quarter with multiple lead changes and five ties in the fourth quarter alone.

After NAZ Suns guard Josh Gray gave the team a one-point advantage with 36 seconds to play, Long Island forward Jacob Wiley drained a three-point basket after the questionable call to give the Nets a lead they would not relinquish.

“I feel like it’s a game for us to break down film and learn from,” Gray said. “Obviously we wanted to win and it didn’t go our way, but there are things we can improve on and learn from. So we will just find the good and the bad and keep pushing.”

The bench was a big reason the NAZ Suns had a chance to win this game after the slow start as Shaquille Harrison led the team with 27 points and Gray added 24 points, both of whom weren’t in the starting five.

“I saw early on that our starters just didn’t have the zest for it,” Toppert said. “Those guys came in and you look at the statistics and it clearly indicates our bench was the deciding factor for us getting back in the game.”

The loss marked the second in a row for the Northern Arizona Suns as the team has dropped both by a combined three points late in the game.

“There are times where you don’t come out on top, you don’t come out victorious,” Toppert said. “You learn from each little individual experience and now the next time you’re in it, you’ve been there. If you’ve been there, you’ve got a better opportunity to have a different result.”

The Northern Arizona Suns (2-3) look to be the one in the win column on the road Saturday, November 18th against the Salt Lake City Stars. Tip-off is 7 pm.


South Bay Lakers (4-1) --GB
Santa Cruz Warriors (4-2) 0.5 GB
Agua Caliente Clippers (3-2) 1 GB
Northern Arizona Suns (2-3) 2 GB
Reno Bighorns (1-2) 2 GB


Tuesday, November 21st against Austin Spurs at 6:30 pm.
Tuesday, December 5th against the South Bay Lakers at 6:30 pm
Sunday, December 10th against the Westchester Knicks at 3:00 pm
Tuesday, December 12th against the Santa Cruz Warriors at 6:30 pm
Friday, December 22nd against the Oklahoma City Blue at 7:00 pm

People who are interested in attending NAZ Suns home games can buy tickets at the door, or purchase them online.