Suns Fight Back Before Losing at Buzzer to Vipers
PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. - The Findlay Toyota Center was rocking on Saturday night as the Northern Arizona Suns fought back from a 19-point fourth quarter deficit. Aaron Epps made a game-tying shot with 3.6 seconds left, seemingly sending the game to overtime, but Vincent Edwards played spoiler for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers at the buzzer.
Edwards drove through the lane and made a highly contested layup as time expired to lift the Vipers over the Suns 129-127 on Saturday night.
This was Rio Grande Valley's first ever win on the road at Northern Arizona, as the Suns had won the first four home games in series history. The Vipers improved to 33-16 on the year and moved into sole position of the top seed in the Western Conference. The Suns dropped to 11-37, now riding a three-game skid.
All seemed lost for the Suns with 6:48 left in the game, with Northern Arizona trailing by 19 points, 118-99. Over the next three minutes, they went on a 17-4 run, making seven of eight field goal attempts in the span. With 2:14 left, the Vipers led 126-120, but they would not score again until there were 7.1 seconds remaining, yielding a 5-0 spurt. The Suns got the ball back with seconds to spare down two points, and Epps was the hero for the moment with his clutch basket, only to be bested by Edwards.
The Suns shot lights out throughout the contest, finishing 48-of-88 (.545) from the field. The Vipers made 47-of-99 (.475) from the floor, making five more three-pointers than the Suns on 14 more attempts (17-45 3PT).
Hollis Thompson had a career-high 33 points on 12-of-17 shooting, including 4-of-5 from distance plus 5-of-6 from the free throw line. He added four rebounds and two steals. His 33 points bested his previous career-high of 27 at South Bay on March 5, earlier this year. The 33 points also ties the most points scored by any Suns player this season, as Jawun Evans had 33-point games on Nov. 27 and Dec. 1, 2018.
Daniel Dixon had his best game since December, notching 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting (3-6 3PT), eight rebounds and two steals. Daxter Miles Jr. recorded 17 points on 8-of-16 shooting, five rebounds and four assists. Trayvon Palmer had 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting, nine rebounds and three assists. Epps finished with 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting and five rebounds. Evans had 11 points, nine assists and two steals. Eric Stuteville notched 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting and seven rebounds.
Nine of the 11 Vipers who played scored in double figures, led by Michael Frazier's 26 points on 9-of-18 shooting, to go with seven rebounds, four assists and three steals. Edwards finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists, while Jacobi Boykins powered the bench with 15 points (5-12 3PT).
The Suns will wrap up their 2018-19 season this upcoming week. They host the Iowa Wolves on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. PT before facing the South Bay Lakers in their season finale at home on Saturday at 7 p.m. PT. The Vipers have just one regular season game remaining before heading to the playoffs. They'll host the Sioux Falls Skyforce on Saturday at 5 p.m. PT.
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