Marquis Teague’s 27 points sparked the Memphis Hustle to a 107-95 NBA G League victory over Midwest Division rival Sioux Falls Wednesday night, Dec. 11 at Southaven’s Landers Center.
The victory was the second straight for Memphis, which defeated Agua Caliente Monday to wrap a road trip that included the Hustle’s 10th straight win to start the season, followed by its first loss at South Bay last Saturday night.
The 12-1 Hustle have fashioned a 5.5 game lead in the division over second-place Iowa. Sioux Falls, at 5-8 for the year, are tied with Oklahoma City in third place, both seven games in back of Memphis. The Hustle are also two games ahead of Salt Lake City for the best record in the Western Conference.
“I just wanted to come out with a lot of energy and be aggressive,” Teague said after the game. “Shots were falling for me tonight and they were finding me.”
Teague, a former standout at Kentucky, scored his season high with 27 points, two more than his first start of the year against Agua Caliente, when he netted 25 points on Dec. 9.
Memphis coach Jason March said Teague, who scored 12 of his 27 points in the first quarter, had a huge game for the Hustle.
“He carried us when we were struggling as the ultimate pro,” March said.
Aided by Teague’s first-quarter performance, Memphis took a 29-21 into the first quarter break and led 52-43 at halftime. However, Sioux Falls, hoping to break a six-game road losing streak that became seven with the Hustle victory, rallied out of the gate after halftime and outscored Memphis 34-21 in the third quarter and took a 77-73 lead into the final 12 minutes of the game.
That’s when Teague and former Texas Tech shooter Matt Mooney, who finished with 23 points for the night, led the charge back into the game and finished off the Skyforce.
Ahmad Caver came off the bench and scored 15 points for Memphis, which also had double-figure efforts from Jarrod Uthoff (13 points) and two-way player John Konchar (11 points).
The lineup for Wednesday night was minus sharpshooter Dusty Hannahs, still nursing a back injury suffered during the recent road trip. Josh Jackson also did not play for the second straight night for breaking team rules for missing a team meeting during the road trip.
March felt his team did well despite the absence of Hannahs and Jackson.
“We have a lot of depth and we have a lot of guys that play the right way,” March said. “I didn’t expect us to take a step back, that’s for sure.”
Jackson is expected to be back in the lineup for Memphis’ next game Saturday at the Texas Legends and March said the team is cautious about Hannahs and his back.
“Dusty is a competitor and he wants to play every minute,” March said. “We just want to do what’s right and make sure he is healthy. It didn’t make sense tonight to try to force it and see how he felt.”
Sioux Falls was led by Daryl Macon, who scored 18 points for the Miami Heat affiliate. Macon played one season with Hannahs when both were at Arkansas and Macon is one of the Skyforce’s two-way players on the roster.
Memphis, winners of all six home games this year, is back on the road for their next three games, Saturday at Texas (Mavericks), Wednesday, Dec. 17 at Rio Grande Valley (Rockets) and a rematch with the Skyforce, this time in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on Dec. 27. The Hustle’s next home game is on Dec. 30 at 12 noon against Agua Caliente (Clippers).
Bob Bakken is Sports Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune.