Hustle Unable to Overcome Slow Start, Fall to Oklahoma City 121-113 in Wednesday Matinee
Memphis, Tenn. - The Memphis Hustle fell to the Oklahoma City Blue 121-113 on Wednesday afternoon inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Memphis got off to a slow start as Oklahoma City jumped out to a 24-12 lead following an alley-oop finish from Kadeem Jack with 4:29 remaining in the first period. The Hustle struggled to get going offensively, connecting on 36.4 percent of their shots in opening quarter and only one of their first 12 three-point attempts. Oklahoma City capitalized on five early turnovers from Memphis as they grabbed a 33-21 lead after one quarter of play. The Blue used a 13-4 run to stretch their lead to as many as 19 points in the second quarter at 44-25 with 9:32 remaining in the half. Marquis Teague gave the Hustle offense a spark, scoring 12 of his 23 points in the second quarter to help trim the lead to 10 points before Oklahoma City would take a 59-45 lead into the halftime break.
The Hustle offense found their rhythm in the third quarter as Dusty Hannahs caught fire. Hannahs connected on a floater with 1:26 remaining in the third quarter to cap off an 18-4 run to make it an 86-85 game. Hannahs scored 16 points in third period on 5-of-6 shooting as the Hustle outscored the Blue 36-28 in the quarter. Memphis cut the lead to one point at 93-92 before Oklahoma City immediately responded with a 12-2 to run to stretch their lead back to 11 points. Memphis would never cut the lead under four points the rest of the way as Oklahoma City held on to pick-up an eight-point victory. Memphis was able to force 18 turnovers for 18 points going the other way but it would not be enough to overcome their first-half struggles.
Hannahs led the way for the Hustle, scoring 29 points (9-20 FG, 3-8 3P) to go with five rebounds and a steal. Shaq Buchanan posted a double-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds and three assists on 9-of-15 shooting. Teague totaled 23 points, five assists and three rebounds in 38 minutes. Raynere Thornton added 10 points, nine rebounds and one steal on 4-of-10 shooting. Philip Cofer led the Memphis bench with nine points and three rebounds as the Hustle dropped to 26-14 on the season.
Oklahoma City had three players go over the 20-point mark, led by Jack, who posted a double-double with 24 points and 19 rebounds. Devon Hall posted a double-double of his own with 22 points, 10 rebounds and four assists on 8-of-18 shooting. Scotty Hopson added 22 points, three rebounds and three assists on 9-of-15 shooting. Tyler Cook totaled 13 points, six rebounds and an assist to lead the Blue bench. DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell chipped in 12 points, five rebounds and three assists as Oklahoma City moved to 20-19 on the season.
The Hustle will continue their three-game road trip as they visit the Sioux Falls Skyforce on Saturday, March 7 at 7 p.m. at Sanford Pentagon.
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