Originally Published: December 6, 2018 11:14 p.m.
AUSTIN, Texas — Playing without one of their top scorers, Northern Arizona struggled to put the ball in the basket Thursday night, scoring the fewest points in franchise history in a 91-81 loss to the Austin Spurs.
The previous low scoring output for the Suns was 87 points at Oklahoma City a season ago on Dec. 19, 2017.
Scoring 25 points against the same Spurs team just 48 hours earlier, Peter Jok was on the bench Thursday night with a right wrist sprain after falling on it during Tuesday’s affair in Prescott Valley.
He is listed as day-to-day, according to the club.
It is the eighth loss in the last nine games for the Suns (3-12), which are 8.5 games back of the first-place Santa Cruz Warriors (10-2) atop the Western Conference.
Daxter Miles Jr. led Northern Arizona with 23 points but was just 9 of 21 from the field, including a dismal 1 of 10 from beyond the arc. The Suns were 8 of 32 from three-point range on the night as a team, and committed 22 turnovers.
Northern Arizona hit just 30 of 81 (37 percent) from the field Thursday night, also tying a franchise low in field goals made. They hit 30 against Oklahoma City in 2017, and in Austin on Jan. 26, 2017.
“I think we missed a lot of open shots,” Suns head coach Bret Burchard said via text. “I thought we played with a better pace tonight and I think we are trying to create shots for our teammates.”
Daniel Dixon was the only other starter in double figures scoring for the Suns, tallying 12 points on 4 of 12 shooting from the field including three 3-pointers. Derek Cooke Jr. recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds in 19 minutes off the bench.
“DC had a nice game,” Burchard said. “When he brings high energy he is capable of impacting the game that way every night.”
As for the club’s offensive woes, the Suns as a team are 26th overall scoring wise in the NBA G League at 101.9 points per game (not including Thursday), a far cry from last year’s team that finished second overall with 119.3 points per game.
“Our offense has a lot of freedom for many guys to make plays for each other and we are trying to play faster,” Burchard said about the high number of turnovers recently. “So I think a combination of those two things has led to a high turnover rate.”
Lonnie Walker IV led all scorers with 24 points on 10 of 19 shooting from the field for the Spurs (8-5), which led by as many as 18 points Thursday night.
John Holland chipped in with 15 points, while Drew Eubanks recorded a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds in just 19 minutes.
Northern Arizona returns home Saturday, Dec. 8, to welcome the Stockton Kings and former coach Ty Ellis back to the Prescott Valley Event Center. Burchard was an assistant under Ellis during the Suns’ first year in Prescott Valley.
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
Brian M. Bergner Jr. is news/sports editor for The Daily Courier of Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and SoundCloud at @TheEditorDesk. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 928-445-3333, ext. 1106.