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NAZ Suns Wins & News
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07 January 2018   Jake Withee

The New Year has already been busy for the NAZ Suns.

SUNS DOMINATE, SNAP RENO’S LONGEST WINNING STREAK IN FOUR YEARS

Suns’ starting point guard Josh Gray tallies point-rebound double-double, records 26 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists and 7 steals

RENO, Nev. – The Reno Bighorns had been one of the hottest teams in the NBA G League going into Friday night’s game against the Northern Arizona Suns at the Reno Events Center. The Suns jumped out to a big lead early and never relented, winning 125-104.

The Suns snapped Reno’s six-game winning streak, their longest regular season winning streak since Feb. 21-March 7, 2014 (also six games).

Northern Arizona (9-14) led 31-20 after the first quarter, taking the lead after the opening 12 minutes for the fifth straight game. The Suns never trailed in this one, only seeing one tie in the contest at 13-13. The Suns shot 45-of-89 (.506) from the field, improving to 7-1 when shooting 50 percent or better.

The big difference in this one came from beyond the arc. The Suns entered averaging the most three-pointers in the league, and it would stay that way, as NAZ made 19-of-44 (.432) from beyond the arc compared to Reno’s 6-of-25 (.240) clip from distance.

Josh Gray had a monster game, as the starting point guard achieved a point-rebound double-double. He recorded 26 points on 10-of-18 shooting (5-of-10 from three-point land), 10 rebounds, seven assists and seven steals. The seven steals tied a team record (Shaquille Harrison on Dec. 19 this season at Oklahoma City).

Since taking over the starting role, Gray has averaged 19.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 8.8 assists and 5.0 steals in four games.

Xavier Silas tied Gray for the team-lead in scoring, also notching 26 points on 7-of-15 shooting, 4-of-10 from beyond the arc. He tallied one rebound, earning the 500th of his career. He is one of 12 players in NBA G League history with 500 career rebounds and 300 career three-point field goal makes.

Phoenix Suns Two-Way forward Alec Peters missed his fifth consecutive game scoring 20+ points just barely with 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting, 5-of-9 from deep, six rebounds and three assists.

Davon Reed, playing in his second game on assignment from the Phoenix Suns, recorded 10 points, eight rebounds and five assists in 23 minutes.

Eric Stuteville rounded out the starting lineup as each member found their way in double-digit scoring tonight. He tallied a career-high 12 points (was 11 on Nov. 26 at Fort Wayne) on 4-of-6 shooting, to go with five rebounds.

Aaron Harrison led the Bighorns with 18 points off the bench. Marcus Williams (14 points), Matt Jones (13 points), Justin Jackson (13 points) and David Stockton (10 points) also scored in double figures for Reno. Sacramento Kings assignee Georgios Papagiannis tallied nine points and 12 rebounds.

The Suns are a perfect 2-0 in 2018 and now have a few-days break before they head to the NBA G League Showcase. They will start the two-game set in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, against the Erie BayHawks on Wednesday at 11 a.m. MT. The Bighorns play once more before the Showcase, as they’ll host the Salt Lake City Stars at the Golden 1 Center Sunday at 5 p.m. MT.


NAZ SUNS ACQUIRE FORWARD MIKE YOUNG

Suns add Young as a returning player

PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona Suns announced Friday that they have acquired forward Mike Youngas a returning player.

Young is back with the NAZ Suns where he played 19 games on a Two-Way contract with the Washington Wizards. Because the Wizards do not have an NBA G League affiliate, they transferred him to Northern Arizona pursuant to the league’s flexible two-way rule on Nov. 13.

Washington waived Young on Wednesday. He signed into the NBA G League Friday after clearing waivers in the NBA.

Young was activated by NAZ just before tonight’s game against the Reno Bighorns at the Reno Events Center. The 6-foot 9-inch, 235-pound forward did not miss a game with the NAZ Suns since being waived. He tallied eight points on 4-of-8 shooting and two rebounds in 17 minutes against the Bighorns tonight in the Suns’ 125-104 win.

Young is now averaging 11.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 20 games (14 starts) with the Suns.

The University of Pittsburgh alum began his tenure in the NBA G League with the Delaware 87ers, where he averaged 16.5 points and 4.3 rebounds in four games.


DAVON REED MAKES DEBUT AS SUNS BREAK SKID TO BEGIN NEW YEAR

Reed scored 11 points in his first game-action since Summer League, Suns beat Vipers 113-108

HIDALGO, Tex. – The Northern Arizona Suns ended 2017 with a five-game losing streak, so the flip of the calendar was a welcome sight. Seeing Phoenix Suns Two-Way guard Davon Reed make his first appearance in a game since the Summer League was also a welcome sight, as the Suns beat the Rio Grande Valley Vipers 113-108.

Xavier Silas led the Suns with 25 points on 8-of-16 shooting, including 4-of-10 from beyond the arc and two clutch free throws to ice the game. Northern Arizona won its first game since Dec. 15 at Iowa, snapping a four-game losing streak on the road too. The Suns improved to 8-14, while the Vipers fell to 15-9.

Reed got the start tonight in his third game with Northern Arizona since getting assigned by the Phoenix Suns. He underwent a meniscus repair of his left knee on Aug. 24 and was given a four-to-six month recovery timetable. Drafted by Phoenix with the 32nd overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the 22-year-old tallied 11 points on 2-of-5 shooting, 1-of-3 from distance, 6-of-6 from the free throw line, two rebounds, three assists and one steal in 20 minutes.

The other Phoenix Suns Two-Way player, Alec Peters, notched 22 points on 7-of-17 shooting (5-of-14 from the three-point line), four rebounds and three assists. It was Peters’ fourth consecutive 20-point game, a career-long streak. Josh Gray flirted with a triple-double, tallying 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting, 4-of-6 from distance, seven rebounds, seven assists and five steals.

For the fourth straight game, Northern Arizona held the lead after the first quarter, this time maintaining it for the majority of the game. The Suns shot 13-of-20 (.650) from the field in the first quarter to take a 37-30 lead, and both teams knotted the second frame 30-30. Both teams knotted the third quarter too, 25-25, to set up a compelling final frame.

The Suns were able to fight off a cold-shooting fourth quarter and held on to their late lead, with Reed and Silas making two free throws each in the last two minutes. NAZ forced the Vipers to miss their last five shots of the game.

Monte Morris led all scorers with 27 points on 11-of-16 shooting, including 4-of-8 from distance. He had the game’s lone double-double, tallying 10 assists and seven rebounds.

RJ Hunter scored 25 points while Tyler Lydon recorded 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting, eight rebounds and three assists.

The Suns head to Reno for their first game against the Bighorns this season, with an 8 p.m. MT tip-off slated for Friday. The Vipers host the South Bay Lakers on Thursday at 6 p.m. MT.


MIAMI HEAT SIGN DERRICK JONES JR. TO A TWO-WAY CONTRACT

This marks the fifth GATORADE Call-Up in NAZ Suns history, second this season

PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – The Miami Heat announced Sunday that they have called up Northern Arizona Suns forward Derrick Jones Jr. and signed him to a Two-Way contract.

This marks the fifth GATORADE Call-Up of a NAZ Suns player in the history of the team, the second one of the season.Isaiah Canaan was called up by the Phoenix Suns earlier this month.

Jones joins the Heat and will wear No. 5 for his new team. They next play Wednesday, Jan. 3, against the Detroit Pistons at 5:30 p.m. MT.

Jones, a 6-foot 7-inch, 195-pound forward, played 35 games for the Northern Arizona Suns over the last two seasons, averaging 14.9 points on 49.0 percent shooting, 6.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.7 blocks per game. In 16 games (11 starts) this year, Jones was averaging career-highs in almost every category with 15.4 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 1.8 APG and 1.9 BPG.

The 20-year-old scored in double figures 29 times in his 35 games, including five 20+ point games this season. He also achieved five double-doubles this year, leaving the team tied with Alec Peters for the team-lead.

The NAZ Suns acquired Jones on Dec. 12 after he was waived by the Phoenix Suns on Dec. 7. He served 11 assignments in Northern Arizona while with Phoenix.

Along with becoming a popular player in the Prescott Valley area, Jones became popular nationally after wowing viewers with his athleticism in the NBA Verizon Slam Dunk last year, taking second in the contest.

He joins the Heat after playing 38 games for the Phoenix Suns over the last two years. He holds NBA averages of 4.7 PPG on 56.0 FG% and 2.2 RPG.

This is the fifth time the NAZ Suns have had a player called up by an NBA team in team history. Canaan got the call from the Phoenix Suns, as did Elijah Millsap, who is currently a member of the Iowa Wolves.

Johnny O’Bryant was the first NAZ Suns player to get a GATORADE Call-Up, when the Denver Nuggets signed him to a 10-day deal in January. After returning to Northern Arizona for one game, O’Bryant signed with the Charlotte Hornets, a team he is still a part of today.