Hustle Defense Falters against Rio Grande Valley
Edinburg, Texas - The Memphis Hustle dropped its second straight game with a 129-121 loss to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers Friday night at Bert Ogden Arena. Rio Grande Valley's 129 points mark a new season-high for a Hustle opponent.
The teams traded buckets throughout the first quarter, with Rio Grande Valley shooting 58.3 percent (14-24 FG) from the field and Memphis shooting 12-of-23 overall (52.2 percent) for a 35-32 Vipers lead. Rio Grande Valley would lead by as many as 16 in the second quarter, courtesy of a 20-5 run over a span of 3:36, and took a 72-61 lead into halftime.
Rio Grande Valley's 72 points in the first half, as well as their field goal percentage of 59.6, were a season-high for any Hustle opponent in a single half. Memphis shot 50.0 percent (25-50 FG) themselves but managed to shoot just 4-of-16 from beyond the arc while RGV knocked down 9-of-19 attempts (47.4 percent).
The Hustle stayed within striking distance in the third quarter, knocking down all six of its three-point attempts and keeping the Vipers lead at 107-100. However, Memphis was unable to push through and regain the lead.
All five Hustle starters reach double figures with Tarik Phillip scoring a season-high 28 points on 9-of-17 shooting to go with five boards and five assists. Tyler Harvey had 22 points of his own on an efficient 9-of-13 (3-5 3P) from the field. Doral Moore (14 points), Markel Crawford (12 points), Dusty Hannahs (11 points) and Kyle Casey (10 points) also reached double digits.
Gary Payton II led all scorers with 31 points while grabbing seven rebounds to lead Rio Grande Valley. Michael Frazier posted 26 points on 8-of-16 shooting. Chris Walker (14 points, 12 rebounds) posted a double-double and shot 5-of-5 from the field.
The Hustle continue a four-game road trip, meeting the Delaware Blue Coats on Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 6 p.m. CT inside the brand new 76ers Fieldhouse. The team returns to Landers Center on Wednesday, January 30 at 10:30 a.m. for the team's annual Financial Literacy Education Day Game. Tickets are still available starting at $10 each and fans wishing to attend can purchase tickets at ticketmaster.com, the Landers Center Box Office, online at MemphisHustle.com or by calling (901) 888-HOOP.
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