The Memphis Hustle will look to make history tonight in the desert of Northern Arizona. Memphis plays the Northern Arizona Suns and with a win will set an NBA G League record for the most consecutive wins to start a regular season with 10 straight victories.
The 9-0 Hustle tied the 2013-14 Rio Grande Valley Vipers Tuesday night with a 116-110 victory against the Suns in Prescott Valley to tie the Vipers for the league record.
Despite season lows for field goal and three-point shooting percentages, Memphis held a 61-52 lead at halftime. The Hustle did lead 107-95 with 4:21 remaining in the game, but Northern Arizona was able to get to within the six-point margin when the final buzzer sounded.
Josh 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. Matt Mooney poured in a season-high 20 points to go with four assists and three steals.
The win came in the first of a four-game road trip for the Hustle, which left the Landers Center on Saturday, Nov. 30 with a solid win number eight in a row, a 133-113 victory against the Oklahoma City Blue on a Hustle and Hounds promotion night where dogs got in admission-free with their paid owners.
Dusty Hannahs erupted for 32 points for Memphis and Josh Jackson added 26 points in that contest.
Another quick start showed there was no post-Thanksgiving lethargy from the Hustle, which again lived up to its name, said coach Jason March.
“I always feel like if you’re the home team after a holiday, a break or whatever, it’s always harder,” March said. “You have family, we took a day off, and you never know how the guys are going to respond. But, we have a group of competitors in there and when it’s time to play, these guys bring it.”
The game was the first for the Hustle without second-year two-way player Yuta Watanabe, who was called up by the parent Grizzlies before Saturday’s game.
HANNAHS, MARCH HONORED BY G LEAGUE: On Monday, Hustle guard Dusty Hannahs and head coach Jason March were honored by the NBA G League. Hannahs became the second player in Hustle history to earn Player of the Week honors after posting a weekly average of 30 points a game in wins over Maine and Oklahoma City, while shooting 60.6 percent from the floor, 63.6 percent from beyond the arc, and was 4-for-4 from the free throw line.
March, in his first year as Hustle head coach, was tabbed as the G League’s November Coach of the Month. Through eight victories, the Hustle have won its games by an average of 14.3 points per game and won all but one by double digits.
The Hustle have not trailed at the end of any period in its five home games and only four times overall, leading wire-to-wire on three occasions. The combined record of Memphis’ opponents through eight games is 31-22 with eight of those losses coming against the Hustle.
RAINOUT RESCHEDULED: The Hustle-Iowa Wolves game of Nov. 11 called after rain leakage from the Landers Center settled on the floor and forced a halt to the game in the second quarter has been rescheduled. The NBA G League announced the suspended game will resume at the point it was halted, with 4:07 left in the first half, and will be played on Sunday, March 15, starting at 1 p.m.
However, the contest will not be played in Southaven, but will be continued from that point inside FedExForum in Memphis. Two-way and assignment players who were with Memphis and Iowa on Nov. 11 will be eligible to play in the rescheduled game. Tickets are required but will be complimentary and will be available only at the FedExForum Box Office the day of the game, beginning at 10 a.m. Seats will be reserved in advance for Season Ticket Members who will be able to access their tickets via their account.
Bob Bakken is Sports Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.