PRESCOTT VALLEY, Arizona – The Los Angeles D-Fenders were defeated by the Northern Arizona Suns on Sunday at the Prescott Valley Event Center, 117-113.
Los Angeles (28-10) enjoyed a another solid performance from David Nwaba, who tallied a team-leading 23 points, seven rebounds, two steals and three blocks. Josh Magette totaled 22 points, six rebounds and five assists. Meanwhile, Vander Blue added 15 points, five rebounds and six assists, while DeJuan Blair finished with 12 points and seven rebounds in his third appearance with the team. Justin Harper (16 points, four rebounds) also notched a double-digit scoring performance.
For Northern Arizona (18-18), the home team was paced by 22 points, five rebounds and six assists from guard Askia Booker. Overall, five Suns players finished with at least 18 points in Booker, Josh Gray (19), Elijah Millsap (18), Xavier Silas (18) and Shaquille Harrison (17).
The D-Fenders got off to another slow start on the afternoon and trailed 63-48 at halftime after shooting just 38.8 percent in the first two quarters. The 15-point deficit would serve as the largest lead for either team in a game that included 11 lead changes and five ties.
L.A. responded after halftime with their best single-quarter showing of the season. Behind a combined 22 points from Magette and Nwaba, the D-Fenders scored a season-best 44 points in the frame while connecting on 69.2 percent of their attempts. The visitors would take a seven-point lead into the final period.
The fourth quarter included five lead changes as both teams battled for control. With only two minutes to go, it was once again Nwaba who tried to spark a D-Fenders comeback, scoring six consecutive points that put L.A. down 112-111 with a minute to play. From there, Northern Arizona cashed in on free throw opportunities to essentially seal the win.
The D-Fenders will have a chance at redemption against the Suns at 6 p.m. PT on Friday, March 3, in Prescott Valley.