It was the longest home stand in the Memphis Hustle's short franchise history and it ended Sunday at the Landers Center in Southaven with a 114-104 loss to the Oklahoma City Blue (7-2).
Memphis ended the home stand 4-2 and is now 4-4 for the season.
A balanced scoring attack by the Blue that included all five starters in double figures and a 19-point effort off the bench by Dez Wells thwarted Grizzlies-assignee Jevon Carter's 30-point performance. It was an effort that brought the Hustle back from a 64-54 halftime deficit to within six points after three quarters.
K.J. McDaniels led the Blue in scoring with 20 points.
Carter, who scored only five points for Memphis in the first half, answered with 25 points in the second half, punctuated by a six-for-nine shooting result from the three-point line.
After Sunday's game, Carter was recalled by the parent Memphis Grizzlies and was available to play Sunday night against the New York Knicks.
"He (Carter) carried us," Hustle coach Brad Jones later said. "He got going in the third quarter and that's a sign of a true leader when the game is tough, to try to step up. He felt like he had to step up more offensively and in the third quarter he did."
Oklahoma City opened with a 31-25 lead after one quarter, extending it to the 10-point margin at intermission. Led by Carter, the Hustle got within six after three quarters but couldn't get much closer than that.
In addition to Carter, Brandon Goodwin scored 14 points for Memphis and Tanner McGrew came off the bench to net 13 for the game. The former Harvard player didn't score in the second half but led the Hustle in scoring in the first half of play.
Jones felt it was Memphis' inside play that hurt them on Sunday.
"Our main key defensively was to control the paint and we lost by 30 in the paint," Jones aid. "It's one thing to identify the problem, but we didn't come up with a solution."
Oklahoma City outrebounded the Hustle by a 50-40 margin and was 16-9 in the Blue's favor in offensive rebounds. OKC outscored Memphis 66-34 in the paint.
As the Hustle take the road to play at Northern Arizona Tuesday night, Jones wants his team to get back to playing within the Hustle/Grizzlies system.
"I don't doubt one bit our guys are trying to do the right thing," Jones asserted. "When things don't go exactly the way we want it to go, we get a little bit emotional and get into our feelings a little bit. This is pro basketball and there's no place for being in your feelings. You should be about feelings to help others be better and we've got to continue to grow in that area as we go on the road now."
Memphis returns home Saturday night to meet the South Bay Lakers at 7 p.m. at the Landers Center.
Bob Bakken is Sports Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.