PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. — The Northern Arizona Suns had been struggling on offense of late, being held under 100 points in eight of their last 10 games and witnessing their scoring average dip from 109.8 points per game to 103.5 points per contest during that span. The floodgates opened on Saturday night against Grand Rapids and the Suns cruised over the Drive 121-90.
Johnny O’Bryant was a monster all night, scoring 26 points on 7-of-17 shooting, to go along with 17 rebounds. Due to a stat correction in the Suns’ last game, O’Bryant tied his career-high in boards, and achieved his second consecutive double-double. It was also his fourth in the last six games.
The Suns’ starting center also made 4-of-6 shots from downtown, earning a new career-high in three-pointers made, and coming just one more make short of a Suns’ franchise record.
The Suns only enjoyed a one-point lead at halftime over the Drive at the Prescott Valley Event Center in front of a franchise record 2,417 fans. But NAZ was able to run away with the game in the third quarter, shooting 66.7 percent in the frame, outscoring Grand Rapids 31-16. The Suns also won the fourth quarter by 15 points, shooting 65.0 percent and scoring a season-high 38 fourth quarter points.
O’Bryant’s 16 points in the final frame was the most points for a Suns player in any quarter this season, and he helped the Suns shoot a scorching hot 65.8 percent in the second half, including 66.7 percent from beyond the arc.
The Suns pounded the Drive in many offensive categories. They outshot Grand Rapids 46-of-88 (.523) to 33-of-88 (.375), outrebounded them by 21 (59-38), and dished out 17 more assists (27-10). The Suns set a new franchise record with those 59 rebounds, besting their 55-board night at Sioux Falls on Christmas Day, and tied a franchise record with their 27 assists, which they had achieved twice before, with the most recent happening on Dec. 3 vs. Reno.
Derrick Jones Jr. started tonight, returning to the lineup after a one-game absence due to a right ankle sprain. He scored 20 points and made his first eight shots of the game, finishing 8-of-9 from the floor with a career-best two three-pointers. He also tallied six rebounds and two blocks.
Elijah Millsap missed his fourth consecutive 20-point game by just a point, finishing with 19 points on 8-of-16 shooting and eight rebounds.
Xavier Silas scored 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting, including 3-of-6 from the three-point line, while Askia Booker fell an assist short of a double-double, recording 11 points, nine assists and three steals.
Josh Gray was the main man off the bench for the Suns, approaching what would have been his second triple-double of the season, before settling with 15 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
Jordan Crawford led all scorers with 29 points on 10-of-25 shooting, doing so off the bench. Ramon Harris (12), Nikola Jovanovic (11) and Ray McCallum (11) rounded out the double-digit scoring for the Drive.
Kevin Murphy, who entered the game scoring the fifth most points per game in the league at 23.1 points per contest, finished with just nine points, although he did secure nine rebounds. McCallum also tallied nine rebounds and six assists.