The Memphis Hustle improved to 9-0 on the season, defeating the Northern Arizona Suns 116-110 Tuesday night, Dec. 3, at Findlay Toyota Center in Prescott Valley, Arizona. The Hustle are now tied for the most wins to start a season (2013-14 Rio Grande Valley) in league history.
The Hustle were held to season-lows in both field goal percentage (.408) and three-point percentage (.308) while the Suns finished with at least a seven percent advantage in both categories respectively, but the turnover battle proved valuable for Memphis yet again. The Hustle converted 25 Suns turnovers into 29 points, while committing just 14 of their own, and have only lost the turnover battle once this season.
Memphis was without its usual fast start, missing its first five threes as the Suns took an early lead, but the Hustle would knock down four straight threes to right the ship. A quick 9-0 run with the game tied at 24-24 late in the first helped propel the Hustle to a 35-27 advantage after the first. The Hustle ended the period shooting 56 percent from the field.
The shooting woes returned in the second as Memphis shot just 36.4 percent from the field (8-22 FG) and only 1-of-9 from three, while Northern Arizona made six of its first 12 threes overall to keep the game in single digits (61-52) at halftime. The Suns held steady in the third and kept the Hustle lead to just six entering the final frame.
Memphis couldn’t quite pull away in the fourth. Josh Jackson started the quarter with a four-point play to push the lead back to double digits. The Suns, who shot 12-of-18 overall in the quarter, immediately responded with an 8-0 run to cut the lead to two before Jackson and Matt Mooney responded with consecutive threes.
Another Jackson three pushed the lead to 107-95, tied for Memphis’ largest lead of the game, with 4:21 to go. Northern Arizona stayed resilient and a quick 7-0 run cut the lead back to five before Memphis was able to hold the home team off. The Hustle hit seven three-pointers in the fourth quarter, including four from Jackson alone.
Jackson (26 points, 10 rebounds) and Jarrod Uthoff (21 points, 14 rebounds) both recorded their fifth double-doubles, marking the second straight game where both players recorded a double-double. Mooney poured in a season-high 20 points to go with four assists and three steals. NBA G League Player of the Week Dusty Hannahs ran into foul trouble in the first half but managed to total 15 points and four assists on the night. Marquis Teague (14 points) and Shaq Buchanan (10 points) each scored in double figures off the bench.
Jared Harper led all players with 31 points (10-17 FG; 4-7 3P) and six assists. Ahmed Hill scored 20 of his 27 points in the first half. Daxter Miles Jr. (14 points) and Anthony Lawrence II (11 points) each chipped in with double digit efforts.
The team will continue its four-game road trip out west with a rematch against the Northern Arizona Suns on Thursday, December 5 at 7:30 p.m. inside Findlay Toyota Center. The Hustle return to Landers Center on Wednesday, December 11 to take on Midwest Division rival Sioux Falls Skyforce at 7 p.m.