The Memphis Hustle enter the New Year owners of victories in three of their last four outings, thanks to Sunday afternoon's 120-108 victory over the Northern Arizona Suns at the Landers Center in Southaven.
Playing shorthanded due to injuries and suspensions, Memphis (10-13) suited up only six players for the afternoon encounter.
The deletions for Sunday included Jeremy Morgan and Omari Johnson out with injuries. Jordon Crawford and Shaquille Thomas were serving one-game suspensions for a brief fracus in the game at Reno, Nev. and Kobi Simmons was up with the parent Memphis Grizzlies. Trahson Burrell, also hurt, came in questionable but did not make the lineup before the NBA G League contest.
The six-pack of players who did play were enough, however, in handing the Suns their 14th loss (7-14) of the season in a convincing, comeback fashion.
All six players scored in double figures for the Hustle and three of them had double-doubles, or more than 10 points and also more than 10 rebounds. Marquis Teague also had a double-double with 13 points and 10 assists.
Memphis was led by Dusty Hannahs, as the former Arkansas Razorback started and scored a season-high 33 points on 11-18 field goal shooting, 6-9 from three-point range and 5-5 from the free throw line.
"We had an uptempo game and the guys were finding me," Hannahs said. "Durand (Scott) was coming to my side and helping me get good looks and I was able to cash in on them."
Surprisingly, Hannahs added having to play so many minutes with so few players dressed wasn't that big of a deal for him. He logged 45:12 of the 48 minutes in the game.
"I played in a system in college that kind of got me in really good shape and coach Cyp has gotten us in really good shape, so it really didn't feel too hard," Hannahs noted. "There were times that we were a little winded, but then coach would call timeouts at great times. He did a really good job and it worked out well."
"Dusty, when his number was called he was just on point," said Cyprien. "We know he can shoot but he did other things to affect the game. He drove, he passed the ball, he just did everything. He was given a great opportunity and he stepped up. He's earned it and he was fabulous tonight."
Vince Hunter scored 29 points for Memphis on 12-21 field goal shooting, while hitting one from three-point range and adding four free throws.
"Vince is a professional," Cyprien said. "He's a hard-playing guy and he brings it every night. It's just so special to have Vince on our team."
Durand Scott netted 21 points, Austin Nichols also scored 13 to match Teague's performance, and Chance Comanche, the only bench player available, came in and scored 11 for the Hustle.
Northern Arizona recorded five players in double figures for the contest, led off the bench by Danuel House's 26 points. House came into the game questionable with a right foot injury.
The Suns dominated the first quarter, taking a 40-26 lead into the break. The margin would be the largest lead the Suns would have the entire afternoon, however.
Memphis recovered and outscored the Suns 36-15 in the second quarter for a 62-55 halftime advantage.
Northern Arizona would cut into the Hustle margin in the third quarter, which was as high as 79-69 at one point in the period after halftime, but Memphis still led 89-86 at the third quarter break.
The Hustle then controlled the fourth quarter by a 31-22 margin and had a 118-100 edge late, the largest Memphis lead of the game.
A big week at home now looms for Memphis, with the Reno Bighorns coming to the Landers Center Tuesday night, followed by a return of division rival Oklahoma City Blue to Southaven Thursday.
The Hustle fell at Reno 133-104 at the end of the most-recent road trip and to Oklahoma City 127-123 in the teams' last meeting on Dec. 10. Hannahs scored 23 points for Memphis in that one.
In probably one of the most solid performances of the season for the young Hustle, Cyprien said his guys lived up to their name, calling it one of the biggest wins he's ever been a part of.
"I told them, 'Play for the name on your chest' and these guys did that," Cyprien noted. "I'm just awfully proud of these guys. What a big win for this group."
Bob Bakken is Sports Editor and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.