Hustle fall short in second half to Grand Rapids

By Geoff Langham | February 11, 2018

The Memphis Hustle lost its third straight game with a 122-113 decision against the Grand Rapids Drive, now winners of six straight games. Grand Rapids outscored the Hustle 69-50 in the second half after Memphis led by as many as 18 in the second quarter.

Box Score

The Hustle didn’t let the early tip-off slow them early, shooting 56.0 percent from the field, including 4-of-7 (57.1 percent) from three-point range, and racing out to a 34-23 lead after the opening frame. Memphis would extend the lead to as many as 18 (46-28) with 8:17 remaining in the first half before a 22-7 burst by Grand Rapids cut the Hustle lead to three with 2:51 remaining. The Hustle gained a 10-point halftime lead courtesy of a Dusty Hannahs heave from halfcourt at the buzzer.

However, it was the Drive who came out firing on all cylinders in the second half, opening the third quarter on an 8-0 run within the first minute to cut the lead to two and eventually taking its first lead at 71-69 with 7:57 left in the period, which featured 13 lead changes and eight ties. Grand Rapids then led by as many as 16 in the fourth quarter before earning the win.

With six of eight available players in double figures, Hannahs posted a game-high 26 points, shooting 10-of-17 from the field and 6-of-10 from three-point range to go with six rebounds, four assists and three steals. Kobi Simmons (21 points) had his second straight game with 20-or-more points and tied a season-high with eight assists. Shaquille Thomas (20 points, nine rebounds) fell just shy of a double-double and has hit the 20-point plateau in two of his last three games. Omari Johnson (13 points, 11 rebounds) recorded his fourth double-double. Austin Nichols chipped in 12 points and eight rebounds while Grizzlies assignee Brice Johnson (10 points) also reached double figures in his Hustle debut.

Jon Horford had a monster afternoon for Grand Rapids, scoring 18 points (8-11 FG) and grabbing 22 rebounds while dishing out seven assists. His 22 total rebounds (14 in the first half) and 10 offensive rebounds are both season highs for any Hustle opponent. Jamel Morris led the Drive in scoring with 21 points. Bronson Koenig (19 points) and K.J. McDaniels (18 points) had big nights off the bench for Grand Rapids. Reggie Hearn (16 points) and Kay Felder (10 points) also contributed double digit afternoons for the Drive.

The Hustle will conclude a two-game road trip prior to the All-Star Break with its third game against the Sioux Falls Skyforce at 7 p.m. at Sanford Pentagon. The regular season series with Sioux Falls is currently tied at 1-1 with the visiting team winning each matchup. The Hustle return home on Wednesday, February 21 at 7 p.m. when the team takes on the Northern Arizona Suns at Landers Center. Tickets are still available and start for as low as $10. Fans can purchase tickets at all Ticketmaster locations, ticketmaster.com, the Landers Center Box Office, online at MemphisHustle.com or by calling (901) 888-Hoop.