Hustle Win Overtime Thriller at Landers Center
Southaven, Miss. - The Memphis Hustle (21-17) earned a 122-119 overtime win over the Salt Lake City Stars (19-19) Wednesday night at Landers Center, erasing an 18-point second-half deficit and pushing its cushion on sixth place in the Western Conference to two games.
Memphis trailed 100-85 with 7:46 left in the game before going on a 23-5 run over the next 4:57 to take its first lead since early in the second quarter. With the Hustle trailing by eight (105-97) with 4:16 remaining, Markel Crawford scored eight consecutive points on Memphis' next three possessions to tie the game before two-way player Julian Washburn knocked in a three of his own to obtain the lead. The Hustle would eventually lead 111-107 at the 1:46 mark, but the Stars held Memphis scoreless the rest of the way to force overtime.
Yuta Watanabe started overtime off with a three-pointer to regain the lead for Memphis. Tarik Phillip and Dusty Hannahs hit a couple of clutch baskets in the two-minute period to keep Salt Lake City at bay. After a Crawford free throw put Memphis up 122-119 with 2.9 seconds left, Naz Mitrou-Long's three-point attempt at the buzzer fell short and the Hustle sealed the win.
Salt Lake City kept the game tight early, despite Memphis shooting 60.0 percent (12-20 FG) from the field, by forcing eight Hustle turnovers in the opening frame. The Hustle made its first nine shots from inside the arc, but couldn't take care of the ball enough to build a substantial lead.
The Stars continued their defensive intensity in the second quarter, Memphis finished the first half with 17 turnovers, and started shooting at a higher clip which resulted in a 61-57 halftime lead for Salt Lake City. The Stars shot 59.1 percent (13-22 FG) in the second quarter after shooting just 38.5 percent (10-26 FG) in the first.
The visitors built an 18-point lead in the third quarter before the Hustle turned things around and won the fourth by a total of 33-19. Memphis took better care of the ball after halftime. Salt Lake City scored 25 points off Memphis turnovers in the first half, but only managed four points off turnovers in the second half and overtime.
Hannahs led the team in scoring off the bench with 25 points (8-14 FG) to go with with four assists. Washburn had his best performance thus far in a Hustle uniform, scoring 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting and adding five boards, four assists and two steals. Crawford added 17 points off the bench to go with six rebounds. Tarik Phillip and Tyler Harvey scored 15 apiece, with Phillip adding 10 rebounds, seven assists and three steals to his line. Yuta Watanabe had a solid night, finishing with 14 points (3-4 3P) to go with four rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Jazz two-way player Tyler Cavanaugh led the way with 25 points and a game-high 15 rebounds for the Stars. Stephaun Branch added 19 points and eight boards. Two-way player Mitrou-Long and Jairus Lyles posted 17 points each for Salt Lake City.
The Hustle face the Long Island Nets in a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. CT at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The team returns to Landers Center on Tuesday, February 26 at 7 p.m. to take on Western Conference contender Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the third installment of Dog Days of Winter. 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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