PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – Prescott Valley has a hero, and his name is George King.
King drilled a three-point shot as time expired to lift the Northern Arizona Suns ahead of the Agua Caliente Clippers 120-117 on Friday night at the Prescott Valley Event Center.
In a neck-and-neck final six minutes of the fourth quarter, neither team led by more than three points. Tied at 115 with 1:17 left,Jawun Evans made a driving layup to give the Suns (2-4) the lead. The Clippers (1-4) answered with an Angel Delgado putback layup with 47.6 seconds remaining. The Suns came up empty on their next possession, giving Agua Caliente the chance for the last shot.
Northern Arizona clamped down defensively, forcing a tough layup by Johnathan Motley, who missed, rebounded by Aaron Epps. With 1.3 seconds left in the frontcourt, Phoenix Suns’ assignee Elie Okobo found King open in the corner, who made the 25-footer to win the game.
“Elie made a great, patient, mature play, that’s just who he is,” head coach Bret Burchard said. “For a guy who’s a rookie, he’s a really mature, mature player. He’s the perfect guy to take it out of bounds. I mean, George just made a heck of a basketball play. They defended the play, and George just made a great basketball play.”
King said after the game that the game-winner was the first of his entire career, counting his professional, college and the prep levels, as he finished with 23 points on 9-of-17 shooting, including 5-of-8 from beyond the arc, five rebounds and three assists. Okobo joined King above the 20-point mark with 22 points, eight assists and four rebounds.
The Suns got a great boost from their bench tonight, who combined for 58 points and 25 rebounds. Derek Cooke Jr. had NAZ’s only double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds, while Evans (17 points on 8-of-10 shooting, four assists, three steals) and Daniel Dixon (16 points on 7-of-8 shooting) also had solid games, all off the bench.
Like the last game, Northern Arizona was scorching hot in the first quarter, shooting 15-of-24 (.625) from the field (4-of-5 from distance) to take a 38-30 lead after the opening frame. The Suns held a five-point advantage after the first half, largely due to the Clippers’ 2-of-19 (.105) mark from distance. Both teams shot well in the third, before NAZ closed out a tight game in the end.
Motley recorded 29 points and 15 rebounds for the Clippers, joined by fellow Two-Way teammate Delgado with his 19-point (9-14 FG), 16-rebound double-double. Manu Lecomte got the start and tallied 24 points on 10-of-18 shooting and seven assists. NAZ outscored ACC in bench points 58-14.
This marked the Suns’ first home win of the season as they snapped a three-game losing streak overall. They head west to take on the Santa Cruz Warriors for the third time in their first seven games of the season.
The third matchup will tip off at 6 p.m. MT on Sunday. The Clippers will face the South Bay Lakers next on Tuesday on the road at 8 p.m. MT.