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T.J. McConnell nets third career triple-double in Pacers loss to Suns

tj-mconnell-triple-double-pacers-suns-arizona-wildcats-basketball Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images

Saturday was supposed to be Bennedict Mathurin’s big Arizona homecoming party when the Indiana Pacers faced the Phoenix Suns in the Valley.

Mathurin will have to live with his return to the desert being slightly overshadowed by Indiana teammate T.J. McConnell, who went for his third career triple-double in his own return to the Grand Canyon State.

McConnell, coming off a career-high 29 points this past Monday, dropped 18 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds in the Pacers’ 112-107 loss to the Suns at Footprint Center.

McConnell made a rare start for the Pacers, who are without leading scorer Tyrese Haliburton with a left knee bruise. The 30-year old point guard proved he deserves increased action, as he we went 8-15 from the field in 39 minutes and kept Indiana in the game. McConnell was particularly effective attacking the paint, which he credited to his teammates’ ability to give him space.

Mathurin, a beneficiary of a couple of McConnell’s passes, finished as the Pacers’ leading scorer with 23 points off the bench.

This marked Mathurin’s first game back in Arizona since leaving the UA after two seasons with the Wildcats. Mathurin shot 6-17 from the field, made all 11 free throw attempts, and got in on the ball distribution with his beautiful pass to McConnell, setting up an assist to Buddy Field.

The Deandre Ayton-less Suns were ultimately too much to overcome, giving Mathurin his first-ever loss in Phoenix.