Ike Nwamu Shines Again as NAZ Suns Keep on Winning
PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. - The Northern Arizona Suns were putting together some wins before they acquired Ike Nwamu, but his contributions since joining the club have been immense.
Nwamu shined again for the NAZ Suns in his third game with the team, as the Northern Arizona Suns beat the Sioux Falls Skyforce 123-114 on Friday night at the Findlay Toyota Center. The Suns (7-18) improved to 5-2 in 2020, winning their second straight home game in a season-high scoring effort. The Skyforce (11-14) had their season-long three-game winning streak snapped.
Nwamu scored 28 points for the second consecutive game, matching his season-high scoring number, this time shooting 10-of-13 from the field, including 4-of-6 from downtown, plus 3-of-3 from the free throw line. He also added three assists and a +19 in plus-minus in 32 minutes off the bench. Since joining the Suns, Nwamu has averaged 23.3 points on 23-of-34 (.676) shooting, including 8-of-16 (.500) from beyond the arc. He has consecutive 20+ point games for the first time since Dec. 23-31, 2017, a four-game stretch.
The Suns actually started off a bit sluggish to start this one, quickly falling behind 6-0 and trailing 29-22 after the first quarter. They picked up the energy to start the second quarter, leading a 13-0 run to take a 35-29 lead. The rest of the quarter was a battle, with Northern Arizona coming up on top 47-46 at halftime.
In the third quarter, both teams scored 36 points on an identical clip from the field at 12-of-22 (.545). Nwamu made four three-pointers in the frame, scoring 14 points in the quarter, a total matched by Sioux Falls' KZ Okpala. Jared Harper led the Suns' charge in the fourth quarter with 15 points and three assists in the frame, a quarter in which the Suns made 75.0 percent of their shots from the field (12-of-16), 75.0 percent of their shots from distance (6-of-8), and 88.9 percent of their shots from the free throw line (8-of-9). The Suns had just a two-point lead with 4:39 left before they went on an 11-2 run to lead by 11, raising that to a 13-point lead before it was over.
For the game, the Suns made 43-of-84 (.512) from the floor, 17-of-35 (.486) from the three-point line and 14-of-16 from the free throw line. The Skyforce finished at 39-of-84 (.464) FG, 8-of-33 (.242) 3PT and 16-of-24 (.667) FT. There were 17 lead changes and 11 ties in the game.
Harper tallied his league-leading 16th 20+ point game with 24 points, to go with six assists and three steals. That's his fifth straight 20+ point effort, tying the second longest such streak in team history (Jawun Evans in 2018-19 and Josh Gray in 2017-18). Over his last five games, he's averaged 22.6 points and 5.2 assists.
Ahmed Hill finished with 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting. Tariq Owens, fresh off signing his Two-Way deal with the Phoenix Suns, had 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting in the contest. Norense Odiase and Aaron Epps each had 11 points off the bench, with Odiase adding eight rebounds. Matt Farrell made his NAZ Suns debut, posting eight points and five assists in 18 minutes.
Jarrett Jack led the Skyforce in scoring with 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting, to go with four assists and three rebounds. Okpala had a monster double-double, totaling 22 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, one steal and one block.
These two teams will meet again tomorrow, with the Suns hosting the Skyforce again at the Findlay Toyota Center, this time at 5 p.m. MT. It's Western Night in Prescott Valley, as the first 1,000 fans will receive a NAZ Suns belt buckle.
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