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Tuesday, 14 February 2017 21:40

Gray’s Monster Second Half Lifts NAZ Suns Over Swarm Featured

Jake Withee

NAZ finishes its season-long road trip 3-2, enter All-Star break with a two-game winning streak

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The Northern Arizona Suns hadn’t been good on the road early in the year. Owning a 2-9 record on the road and facing their longest trip away from home on the season may have been daunting, but a 125-120 win over the Greensboro Swarm on Valentine’s Day boosted the Suns to a successful road trip at 3-2.

Josh Gray was the hero for the Suns (16-17), scoring a career-high 30 points on the night, with 24 of those coming in the second half. He bested his 28-point performance at the Santa Cruz Warriors on Dec. 16. At the Fieldhouse in Greensboro, Gray shot 11-of-21, plus 7-of-10 from the free throw line, while tallying eight assists, three rebounds and two steals in 32 minutes off the bench.

Gray’s 24 points in the final 24 minutes of play tied the most points a Suns player has scored in a single half in team history (Askia Booker in the second half at Iowa on Jan. 28).

The Suns were sharp right out of the gate, not allowing the home fans to sit down for the first few minutes when NAZ scored the game’s first 10 points.

Greensboro came back quickly though, and even held the lead after the first frame 31-27. The Swarm got great play from two main players all night in Cat Barber and former Phoenix Suns guard Archie Goodwin.

Barber led all scorers with 38 points on 15-of-24 shooting, to go along with five assists. Goodwin achieved the lone double-double by a Swarm player with 31 points on 12-of-19 shooting and 11 rebounds.

The Swarm bench managed just 25 points, which Gray outdid that by myself.

He wasn’t the only Suns player to have a big game, however. Elijah Millsap had an efficient night, recording 25 points on 9-of-18 shooting, eight rebounds and six assists. Xavier Silas had 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting, including 5-of-10 from beyond the arc.

Shaquille Harrison tallied 17 points and seven rebounds off the bench, while forward Derek Cooke Jr. had four points and 11 rebounds.

Both teams will now enjoy at least a week off of games with All-Star weekend approaching. Coming back from the special weekend, the Suns will head back home and take on the Windy City Bulls in Prescott Valley on Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 6:30 p.m. MT. The Swarm get to stay at home, as they will host the Maine Red Claws on Friday, Feb. 24, at 5 p.m. MT.

NAZSuns.com

Last modified on Wednesday, 15 February 2017 01:40
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