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NAZ Suns Hold Off Comeback in Win Over Windy City

23 February 2017  
Photo Courtesy: Matt Hinhsaw/NAZ Suns
Third Quarter Run Doesn't Faze NAZ Suns In Victory Against Windy City Bulls

PRESCOTT VALLEY-It had been 18 days since the Northern Arizona Suns played on their home court and the team did not disappoint in front of over 1600 fans Wednesday night at the Prescott Valley Event Center, beating the Windy City Bulls 103-92.

“Coming off of a two-game winning streak on the east coast, to come home and win tonight was great,” Northern Arizona Suns Head Coach Ty Ellis said.

It didn’t take long for the Northern Arizona Suns offense to start clicking as the team outscored Windy City by eleven points in the first quarter and took a 28-17 advantage into the second quarter. Windy City cut into the lead during the second quarter but the Northern Arizona Suns still entered halftime with a nine-point lead.

Trailing by 18 points in the middle of the third quarter, Windy City would make significant in-roads toward a comeback attempt as the Bulls went on a 16-4 run, cutting the deficit to four. The Northern Arizona Suns would end the quarter scoring three unanswered baskets and still managed to outscore Windy City by two and take a double-digit lead into the final quarter.

“They tried to make a run and to my guys credit, I called a timeout and I challenged them,” Ellis said. “They responded and that’s awesome. That’s how a team grows, that’s how a team develops.

NAZ Suns kept their foot on the gas in large part to the impressive start to the final quarter by Josh Gray who scored eight points in the first four minutes. The team would hold Windy City off for the rest of the quarter and pick up the victory.

“When we were going through that slump, until we started to come back, I think we started in our minds to think ‘oh man here we go again’’’Northern Arizona Suns forward Eli Millsap said. “Now we just in a different mindset where we know ok, it’s part of the game. Basketball teams are going to make runs but when you are a winning team, you figure out a way to win.”

“When guys make that run, we just got to go in a timeout and talk to each other, communicate better.”

Four NAZ Suns players notched double-digit points as Millsap lead the NAZ Suns with 26 points. Johnny O’Bryant notched 17 points while Gray picked up 14 and Derrick Jones Jr. had 11 points in his return to the team.

The Northern Arizona Suns took the floor on Wednesday night with a similar squad that won ten games in a row earlier in the season. O’Bryant returned to the NAZ Suns after a stint with Denver Nuggets. While O’Bryant helped the team pick up a win on Wednesday night, Ellis said it was bittersweet to have the six-foot-nine center back.

“I didn’t want to see JO (Johnny O’Bryant) back,” Ellis said. “I talked to people in Denver-they were really happy with him-and I’m praying that somebody else gives him another shot. JO is an NBA player; he has NBA professionalism.”

Meanwhile, Jones Jr. was well received by the crowd on Wednesday night after representing the entire Suns organization and Prescott Valley by taking second at the NBA Slam Dunk contest during the All-Star festivities in New Orleans.

“It was crazy being out there with all the celebrities and just knowing that I actually belong there,” Jones Jr. said. “It was a lot of fun but it was always in my mind-it was a business trip. I had to go out there and just handle business.”

The Northern Arizona Suns are back on the road for a quick game on Friday against the Austin Spurs before returning to the Prescott Valley Event Center for the start of a three-game home stand on Sunday at 3pm against the first-place Los Angeles Defenders. People who are interested in attending the game on Sunday can buy tickets at the door, or purchase them online.

All Photos by Matt Hinshaw @ Hinshaw Photography unless noted otherwise. | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram