Mike Young barely missed a triple-double with 17 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, Anthony Bennett added 23 points and the Northern Arizona Suns hit a franchise-record 23 3-pointers in a 140-115 road win over the Greensboro Swarm on Thursday night.
Xavier Silas knocked down six 3-pointers to finish with 22 points for the Suns (4-6), which never trailed in the contest after outscoring the Swarm 44-21 in the first quarter to snap a three-game losing streak.
Northern Arizona jumped out to a 21-4 lead thanks to three 3-pointers by Silas and a put-back layup by Bennett with 7:26 to play in the first period and they never looked back.
“We’ve been emphasizing good to great in terms of shot selection,” first-year Suns head coach Cody Toppert said in a phone interview. “They took ownership of the offense … and this is what it feels like when we communicate.”
Derrick Jones Jr. chipped in with 22 points on 8 of 18 shooting from the field and grabbed eight rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench. Shaquille Harrison had 19 points, while Alec Peters scored 17.
The Suns shot 51 percent from the field (47 of 93), were 23 of 25 from the free-throw line and outscored Greensboro 26-14 on second-chance points in the lopsided victory.
For the Swarm (3-8), Jalen Jones led all scorers with 29 points on 8 of 16 shooting from the field, including a 12 of 16 mark from the charity stripe, and grabbed 11 rebounds. Charles Cooke had 25 points in 33 minutes off the bench.
Toppert said the early-season East Coast swing has given his club the chance to get to know one another, something that can help the team “without question” down the road.
“To have this long road trip here, you fight adversity, work through it together. We’re doing team activities, getting to know each other, it’s important to do that,” Toppert said. “Having compassion for each other and that carries onto the floor, which we saw tonight.”
The Suns’ four-game road trip began in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on Sunday, then Newark, Deleware on Tuesday, before heading to Greensboro, North Carolina, on Thursday night.
Northern Arizona wraps up the trip in Lakeland, Florida, as they take on the Lakeland Magic on Saturday, Dec. 2. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. Arizona time.
Brian M. Bergner Jr. is sports editor for The Daily Courier, the Prescott Valley Tribune and the Chino Valley Review. Follow him on Twitter at @SportsWriter52 or on Facebook at @SportsAboveTheFold. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 928-445-3333, ext. 1106.