If you’re a fan of high-paced, high-scoring basketball, you missed a good one Friday, Jan. 17 in Southaven’s Landers Center. The Memphis Hustle ran their season record to a stellar 19-6 while setting franchise records for points scored with Memphis’ 152-136 victory over the South Bay Lakers (Lakers), which fell to 10-16 for the year.
The 152 points scored tied the third-highest team point total in the NBA G League this season.
All five Hustle starters scored in double figures, but the night belonged to sharpshooter Dusty Hannahs, who reached a career-high 35 points on 14-of-20 shooting, including 7-of-9 from beyond the three-point line.
The Hustle’s previous scoring high of 141 points was set against South Bay on March 23, 2018 in Memphis’ final home game of the year.
The Hustle have now won two of three meetings with the LA Lakers affiliate. Memphis quenched the Lakers 137-120 on Nov. 18, but South Bay stopped the Hustle’s opening season win streak at 10 with a 125-118 victory.
“We love playing fast,” Hustle coach Jason March about the pace of the game. “It does give you more possessions in the game, so you’re going to see more points on the board.”
An indication of how the game would go was reflected by the 158 points between the teams in a 79-79 tie at halftime. Both were season-highs for the Hustle and for a Hustle opponent for one half of play. Memphis also hit 14 three-pointers in the opening 24 minutes of the game and tied a franchise-high set in the November victory over South Bay.
Memphis took control in the second half by holding the Lakers to just 22 points in taking a 120-101 lead at quarter’s end. While South Bay won the fourth quarter by a 35-32 margin, it wasn’t enough to catch the Hustle’s big lead.
March was equally happy about Hannahs' game beyond his long-range shooting.
“Not only that, but then he adds six assists on top of it,” March said. “He’s an NBA player who happens to be in Southaven right now with us. But I think we’ve got a few guys who will have the opportunity.”
Hannahs said the Lakers provided some chances that he took advantage of.
“I was able to get into a good flow early and my teammates did a good job,” Hannahs. “Josh (Jackson) was looking for me early. I was ready to play today and thank my teammates and coach March for putting me in the right spots.”
Along with Hannahs’ 35 points, Yuta Watanabe scored his second-straight double-double, as he scored 26 points and added 10 rebounds. Jarrod Uthoff finished with 20, Jackson scored 19, followed by John Konchar with 16 points and Ahmad Caver came off the bench to finish with 10.
For South Bay, Talen Horton-Tucker had game-high honors with 37 points. The Lakers assignee also finished with nine rebounds and six assists.
Game three of the Hustle’s season-long seven-game home stand comes up Wednesday, Jan. 22 at Southaven’s Landers Center against the Delaware Blue Coats (Sixers), starting at 7 p.m.
GRINDFATHER AT WORK: Memphis Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins announced Friday that former Grizzlies’ standout Tony Allen would be working with the Memphis Hustle as a development coach. Allen was attending Friday’s Hustle victory over South Bay. Nicknamed the “Grindfather,” Allen is considered one of the Core Four that brought the team success during his time in Memphis.
MOONEY TO CAVS: Memphis Hustle guard Matt Mooney is the sixth GATORADE call up in franchise history and the first this season, after he signed a two-way contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers. In 24 games (22 starts) with the Hustle this season, Mooney averaged 12.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 4.8 assists a game.
HOLLIS-JEFFERSON GONE, RETURNS: Memphis Hustle forward Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson was put on waivers one day and returned to the roster the next day. With Matt Mooney going to the Cavaliers and an available roster spot open, the Hustle reacquired him on Thursday and saw action Friday against South Bay. The 6-foot-5 forward has played in 18 games for the Hustle this season before Friday night, averaging 5.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 18.0 minutes per game while shooting 50.0 percent from the field.
CABOCLO OUT: Assignment player Bruno Caboclo, who was hurt in the Monday, Jan. 13 Memphis Hustle victory over Santa Cruz, is out from 4-6 weeks. Caboclo left the game with what was a hyperextended left knee. Subsequent imaging revealed a bone bruise but no structural damage within the knee. Caboclo is expected to miss approximately 4-6 weeks while the bruise heals.