Hustle Take Down Vipers, Bounce Back with Balanced Effort
Southaven, Miss. - The Memphis Hustle (22-18) defeated the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (28-14) 122-113 Tuesday at Landers Center. All five Hustle starters scored 15 points or more. Memphis remains one game up for sixth place in the Western Conference while Rio Grande Valley lost for just the second time in eight games, remaining in second place in the Western Conference. The teams split the season series 2-2.
The first half was mainly a back-and-forth affair as the team's played through 13 lead changes, including 12 in the first quarter, and seven ties before Memphis closed the half on an 11-2 run over the final 3:09 to take a 68-63 lead into the break. The Hustle then opened the third quarter on a 12-2 run to open the lead up to 15 (80-65) and pushed the lead to as many as 18. Rio Grande Valley wouldn't cut the lead to less than eight the remainder of the game.
Tarik Phillip continued his scoring surge by posting 26 points on 11-of-19 shooting along with four boards and three assists. Both Grizzlies two-way players achieved double-doubles, with Julian Washburn (15 points, 11 rebounds) doing so for the second straight game. Yuta Watanabe posted 22 points and 11 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season. Grizzlies assignee Jevon Carter posted 22 points of his own to go with six assists, five rebounds and five steals. Doral Moore (16 points, eight rebounds) finished two rebounds shy of a double-double and the Hustle improved to 13-4 when Moore finishes in double figures.
Rockets assignee Isaiah Hartenstein and Dakarai Tucker led the Vipers with 27 points each. Hartenstein finished 11-of-17 from the field with 16 boards for his 13th game with 10-or-more rebounds this season. Jacobi Boykins (17 points) and Diamond Stone (13 points) reached double figures off the bench.
The Hustle embark on a four-game road trip out west starting with a Friday night matchup at Kaiser Permanente Arena against the first-place Santa Cruz Warriors at 9 p.m. CT. The team returns to Landers Center on Friday, March 8 for a rematch with the Warriors at 7 p.m. 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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