The Memphis Hustle (26-11) defeated the Rio Grande Valley Vipers 116-113 Saturday night inside Bert Ogden Arena. The Hustle swept the three-game regular season series with the Vipers and will finish the regular season undefeated (10-0) against teams from the state of Texas.
After holding an 11-10 lead at the 7:03 mark, Memphis gave up a 17-2 run over the next 3:37 and eventually trailed 34-19 after the opening frame. The Hustle offense found their rhythm in the second quarter, scoring 35 points and cutting the deficit to 64-54 at halftime despite a 57.1 percent shooting display from the Vipers in the period.
The Hustle took its first lead since the opening minutes of the game with a Shaq Buchanan layup at the 2:29 mark of the third quarter to make the score 83-82. However, Rio Grande Valley would close the quarter on a 13-2 run and lead by seven entering the final frame. The lead changed hands seven times in the fourth quarter before Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson grabbed the lead for good on a free throw with 2:29 remaining to make the score 108-106. With Memphis holding a 115-113 lead, Marquis Teague hit the front end of a set of free throws with 1.6 seconds left and Rio Grande Valley’s desperation heave fell short as time expired.
Yuta Watanabe led the Hustle with 27 points and 12 rebounds on 12-of-21 shooting. Marquis Teague (22 points, nine assists) fell just shy of his second straight double-double. Buchanan (21 points, nine rebounds) finished the game one rebound short of a double-double. Hollis-Jefferson had season-highs of 16 points and eight rebounds.
Isaiah Hartenstein finished with 24 points and 13 rebounds for the Vipers. Michael Frazier added 23 points, five rebounds and four assists on 5-of-10 shooting from long range. Chris Clemons posted 19 points and six assists.
The Hustle return for a home back-to-back on Feb. 28-29 against the Salt Lake City Stars with both games slated for a 7 p.m. tip-off.