Hustle Hold off Oklahoma City Rally, Defeat Blue 120-119
Southaven, Miss. - The Memphis Hustle (24-9) defeated the Oklahoma City Blue (15-18) 120-119 inside Landers Center behind career nights from Ahmad Caver and Shaq Buchanan. The team hosted its third annual Financial Literacy Education Day Game, presented by Renasant Bank, and entertained over 4,000 kids from across the mid-south area.
The Hustle jumped out front early as they outscored the Blue 17-2 over the first 5:04 of play following Dusty Hannah's third three-pointer of the quarter. Memphis inserted Ahmad Caver into the game with 5:49 remaining in the first and he promptly scored 12 of his 27 points in the first period alone. Memphis finished the first quarter shooting 56 percent from the field as they took a 35-25 lead into the second frame.
The Hustle would stretch reach their largest lead of the night at 24 points following a 19-4 run to make it 61-37 with 4:43 remaining before half. Buchanan tallied 17 points in the first half on 8-of-13 shooting as the Hustle took a 73-54 lead into the locker room, despite not connecting on a three pointer in the second quarter. The Hustle were able to control the pace of play as they outscored the Blue 31-4 in fast break points in the first half.
Oklahoma City was able to climb back in to the game as they outscored the Hustle 32-22 in the third. The Blue knocked down five three pointers in the period to trim the Hustle lead to 95-86 heading into the fourth. The Blue began the fourth quarter on a 13-4 run to tie the game at 99-99 with 7:08 to play following a three-pointer from Vincent Edwards. Memphis would quickly stretch their lead back to seven points at 114-107 as Marquis Teague knocked down his third three-pointer of the day. Ahmad Caver knocked down a free-throw to make it a 120-116 game with just under five seconds remaining to all but seal the victory. Markel Brown connected on three-pointer for the Blue as time expired, but it would not be enough, as the Hustle held on to move to 3-0 vs. Oklahoma City this season.
Buchanan led Memphis with a career-high 28 points (12-24 FG, 2-6 3P), 10 rebounds and four assists as he posted his first double-double of the season. Caver connected on his first nine shots of the game before finishing with a career-high 27 points, six rebounds and three assists on 10-of-15 shooting. Marquis Teague totaled 24 points, five assists and five rebounds on 9-of-19 shooting. Jarod Uthoff posted his team-leading 14th double-double of the season with 11 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists. Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson added 11 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
Abdul Gaddy totaled 26 points and seven assists on 11-of-14 shooting to lead Oklahoma City. DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell chipped in 19 points, nine rebounds and one assists in 25 minutes. Kadeem Jack posted a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds on 6-of-9 shooting. Markel Brown totaled 15 points five assists and three boards as the Blue dropped to 15-18 on the season.
Memphis will hit the road for a two-game west coast trip beginning with the South Bay Lakers on Saturday, February 8 at 7 p.m.
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