Southaven, Miss. – The Memphis Hustle (26-13) dropped its second game in as many nights to the Salt Lake City Stars (27-12) by a score of 113-110 Saturday night inside Landers Center. Salt Lake City now owns a one game lead in the Western Conference standings and swept the regular season series 3-0.
Memphis was more effective on the glass after last night’s game, grabbing 13 offensive rebounds to Salt Lake City’s nine which included 10 in the first half alone. However, it wasn’t enough to overcome their shooting woes, which included missing 22 of its first 24 three-point attempts.
After making eight of their first 11 field goal attempts in last night’s game, the Stars picked up where they left off by making eight of their first 12 tonight on the way to a 25-17 lead after the opening frame. Despite shooting just 30.8 percent from the field and 0-of-7 from three, Memphis forced six Stars turnovers to limit the deficit.
The cold streak continued in the second for Memphis, who missed their first 13 threes and 28 of 30 dating back to halftime of last night’s game before Shaq Buchanan got the Hustle on the board from distance at the 3:31 mark. Buchanan’s three, preceded by a traditional three-point play from Dusty Hannahs, continued a 12-0 Hustle run that cut the lead to 44-43 with 1:06 left. With the Hustle trailing 47-43 with 7.4 seconds remaining before half, Buchanan converted a putback dunk in transition. Trevon Bluiett then converted a quick layup on the other end before Buchanan pulled up from 30 feet in transition to beat the buzzer and cut the deficit to 49-48 at half.
It was more of the same for Buchanan to begin the third, converting a tip-in to give the Hustle its first lead since the game’s opening moments. The lead would change hands six times in the period, which the Hustle controlled for the majority, but Salt Lake City shot 13-of-20 (.650) from the field and took an 83-80 lead into the fourth.
Early in the fourth, consecutive Bluiett three-pointers pushed the Stars lead to 98-87 with 8:24 remaining. Salt Lake City would maintain a multi-possession lead before Hannahs hit three straight three-pointers, including two on consecutive possessions, to tie the game at 106-106 with 1:54 to go. The Stars built the lead back up to four with 9.2 seconds left, but Buchanan’s heroics kept the Hustle alive as he knocked down his third three of the night to cut the lead back to one. Jarrell Brantley knocked down two free throws before Marquis Teague’s three-point attempt at the buzzer hit front iron.
Buchanan finished with 22 points and a season-high 18 rebounds to go with six assists. Hannahs led all scorers with 24 points on 10-of-18 shooting. Teague added 18 points to go with a team-high tying six assists. Ahmad Caver added 15 points off the bench, while Raynere Thornton contributed 14 points and six boards.
Willie Reed led the Stars with 20 points and eight rebounds. Bluiett and Mike Scott added 19 points apiece in reserve roles. Justin Wright-Foreman posted 16 points while Isaac Haas (12 points, nine rebounds) fell one rebound shy of his second double-double in as many nights.
The Hustle continue action on Wednesday, March 4 on the road against the Oklahoma City Blue at 11 a.m. CT. The Hustle return home to continue a previously halted game from Nov. 15 against the Iowa Wolves on Sunday, March 15 at 1 p.m. inside FedExForum, with free admission included. The two teams will play at Landers Center the next night at 7 p.m. Tickets are still available starting at $10 each and fans wishing to attend can purchase tickets at ticketmaster.com, the Landers Center Box Office, or by calling (901) 888-HOOP.