Marquis Teague's two free throws with 3.1 seconds remaining in the game gave the Memphis Hustle a 112-110 NBA G League victory over the Reno Bighorns Saturday afternoon at the Landers Center in Southaven, a win that broke a five-game Hustle losing streak.
Teague climaxed the daytime encounter against the Bighorns where he led the Hustle in scoring with 24 points and was one of six Hustle players in double figures. All five starters hit double digits as did J.J. Frazier coming off the bench with 10 points.
Hustle coach Glynn Cyprien said the balanced scoring was an indication of the team's performance Saturday.
"That says a lot about our guys sharing the basketball," Cyprien said. "We had 25 assists and I can't remember the last time we had that, so it showed our guys shared the ball and got shots up."
Jeremy Morgan and Omari Johnson scored 19 points for Memphis, Austin Nichols totaled 17 and Dusty Hannahs scored 14 as the Hustle improved to 16-25 for the season.
Reno, which came into the game as the fifth-best team in the Western Conference, fell to 21-17. The Bighorns were led by Jack Cooley and JaKarr Sampson, who each scored a game-high 28 points.
Johnson also brought down 10 rebounds for the lone Memphis double-double as Memphis.
Teague brought the ball into the front court in the final seconds, held it out front and then drove into the lane, being fouled as he tried to lay it in as the clock wound down.
"I just wanted to make a play and be aggressive to the rim," Teague said about the final play. "I thought I was going to get the layup but they fouled me there at the end."
The closeness of Saturday's game was indicative by the 20 lead changes and 16 ties. Reno held the biggest lead at seven points while the Hustle's biggest lead in the game was at five.
It was also an intense contest with several officiating calls that many would question and five technical fouls, three against Memphis and two against the Bighorns. Both coaches were called for technicals; Cyprien for responding to a call in the third quarter and Reno coach Derrick Martin was tagged for his response to a call with 43.8 seconds left in the game.
Memphis expected a tough contest from the Reno, which had won the previous two meetings, but Teague said they were ready to answer back.
"They have a lot of guys who are strong and get physical with us so we had to get physical with them," Teague said. "Chance (Comanche) and O (Omari) did a great job on the inside trying to battle their big guys and our guards were able to help out and come clean up some of those rebounds."
The Hustle now head west to play the South Bay Lakers Wednesday night on the West Coast, then visit Northern Arizona and the Santa Cruz Warriors before returning home March 10 for a rematch with the Warriors at the Landers Center with a 7 p.m. tipoff.
Bob Bakken is Sports Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune