Skid over: Suns Race Past Red Claws to End Team's Longest Losing Streak
PORTLAND, Maine - The skid is over. After getting close to breaking it in recent memory, the Northern Arizona Suns left no doubt Saturday night, powering past the Maine Red Claws in the fourth quarter to win it at the Portland Expo Building 106-99.
The Suns (4-24) snapped a 14-game losing streak, their longest in team history, also snapping an eight-game skid on the road, tied for their longest ever. The Red Claws (8-17) have lost two straight games.
After ending the first quarter in style with a buzzer-beating dunk by Retin Obasohan, the Suns fell behind by 11 points in the second quarter. They ended the frame on a 12-4 run to make it 51-48 at halftime, thanks to another buzzer-beating score, this one by Daxter Miles Jr. The Red Claws remained in control in the third quarter, but it was all Suns in the fourth, who won the final frame 35-21. The Suns trailed 82-71 with 9:10 left before going on an 11-0 run to tie it, and they would get the lead to nine points late. In the fourth, the Suns shot 12-of-17 (.706) from the field compared to Maine's 6-of-20 (.300) clip, and NAZ outrebounded their opponent 14-3.
For the game, the Suns outrebounded the Red Claws 48-39 and outshot them 41-of-84 (.488) to 37-of-82 (.451). Maine missed 10 free throws (12-of-22).
Hollis Thompson led the Suns with 22 points on 10-of-18 shooting and eight rebounds, turning in his fifth 20+ point game in nine contests with Northern Arizona this season. Also reaching the 20-point mark was George King, who recorded 20 points (3-7 3PT) and five rebounds. It marked King's seventh 20+ point game, tying Jawun Evans for the team-lead in the category.
Speaking of Evans, he did it all once again, finishing with 17 points on 7-of-15 shooting, six rebounds, four assists, four steals and a block. Peter Jok came alive in the fourth (10 points in the frame) to tally 12 points and five rebounds. Aaron Epps led the bench with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting and six rebounds, extending his career-long double-digit scoring streak to five games.
Maine's Vitto Brown had a game-high 23 points on 9-of-18 shooting, to go with seven rebounds. A trio of Red Claws scored 15 points apiece that included PJ Dozier (nine rebounds, nine assists), Justin Bibbs (four rebounds, four assists, two steals) and RJ Hunter (3-7 3PT). Former NAZ Suns guard Archie Goodwin notched 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting off the bench.
The Suns will wrap up their four-game road trip on Tuesday at the Canton Charge at 5 p.m. MT. The Red Claws will hit the road for two, starting at the Capital City Go-Go on Friday at 5 p.m. MT.
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