In reality Phoenix Suns forward Michael Beasley has played 17 home games now this season and well over 100 during his NBA career across three different teams, but tonight was his first true home crowd since college. Primarily because his college crowd followed him to U.S. Airways Center.
Well, they followed the Kansas State Wildcats football team that is playing in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on Thursday night against the Oregon Ducks.
Apparently the Wildcats drew the short straw as the Ducks were likely out in old town enjoying the night life as the kids from Kansas were subjected to only 6:44 minutes from their former Manhattan star. All throughout the game there were thundering cheers for Beasley, and, ultimately, gentry caved in the second quarter inserting Beasley to -- I kid you not, a standing ovation. Surreal chain of events on a Wednesday night.
However, it wasn't until the third quarter until the Suns turned on their jets, the polar opposite of what happened the other night in Oklahoma City.
In that third quarter the Suns were led by the stellar play of Goran Dragic and Luis Scola who combined for 15 points and 6 assists on their own. Scola was an assassin from about 17 feet out knocking down jumper after jumper while Dragic pulled the chair out from under (basketball style) Jrue Holiday completely throwing off his rhythm for the rest of the quarter.
Containing Holiday was not only the key to the game, but imperative in terms of staying in this game based on his outburst last time the two teams met. Once Dragic did that Holiday went four straight possessions of one-on-one basketball missed every shot and allowing the Suns to stretch the lead.
Holiday shot 3-8 in that third quarter with two turnovers and only one assist.
Mentally taking Holiday out of the game proved fruitful with giving the Suns a nine point lead after three. He made a short burst in the fourth quarter helping cut the lead briefly to three points with under three minutes to play, but the death nail by P.J. Tucker wrapped it up as the Suns won 95-89.
The team was led by Luis Scola (21 points 9 assists), Marcin Gortat (11 points 14 rebounds), Goran Dragic (20 points 6 assists), and holding Holiday down (16 points 10 assists 10 rebounds) to move to 12-21 on the season.