Northern Arizona Suns Can’t Complete Fourth Quarter Comeback

16 March 2017  
Photo Courtesy: Matt Hinshaw/NAZ Suns
Northern Arizona Suns Unable to Overcome Deficit in Fourth Quarter

PRESCOTT VALLEY- The Northern Arizona Suns were in a similar spot on Wednesday night against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants as their win on Sunday night against the Sioux Falls Skyforce, trailing by double-digit points entering the fourth quarter. However, unlike Sunday night, the NAZ Suns could not complete the comeback and fell 123-122 in front of over 1700 fans at the Prescott Valley Event Center.

Also like the game on Sunday night, the Northern Arizona Suns dug themselves an early hole after struggling to get much going in the first three quarters. Fort Wayne took a double-digit lead in the first five minutes of the game and scored 32 points in three consecutive quarters, outscoring the NAZ Suns by atleast five points in two of the three.

“I thought our guys played like crap the first three quarters,” Northern Arizona Suns head coach Ty Ellis said after the game. “Fort Wayne wanted it more. Our guys didn’t have discipline, they didn’t have energy, they didn’t have focus.”

Everything changed in the fourth quarter as down by 14 points with eight minutes left, the Northern Arizona Suns battled back to within a point with .5 seconds left in the game. The NAZ Suns had an opportunity to take their first lead and win the contest but Xavier Silas missed a three point shot as time expired and Fort Wayne held on for the one-point win.

“We made some mistakes and gave the game away,” Silas said. “We have to find that (sense of urgency) earlier in the game, we can’t keep doing that (coming back from double-digit points in the fourth quarter). It’ll come back to bite us, like it did tonight.”

Silas, similar to the game on Sunday, lead the NAZ Suns scoring 29 points while Chris McCullough and Derek Cooke Jr. each picked up 15.
Tyler Hansbrough and Trey McKinney-Jones each picked up 25 points for the Mad Ants as Hansbrough notched a double-double, leading the team with 12 total rebounds.

“They got professional players, professional scorers,” Cooke Jr. said. “They out toughed us tonight.”

Time is running out for the Northern Arizona Suns to make the playoffs in their inaugural season. The team didn’t lose any ground in the playoff chase from the loss on Wednesday night because the Sioux Falls Skyforce, who are ahead of the Suns for the final playoff spot, lost as well but now the NAZ Suns are four games out with seven games to go.

The Northern Arizona Suns (21-22) hit the road for two straight against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers on Friday and Sunday before returning home for a 6:30pm matchup against the Texas Legends on Thursday, March 23rd.

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

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