The Memphis Hustle (26-12) fell to the Salt Lake City Stars (26-12) 112-91 Friday night inside Landers Center. The Stars outscored the Hustle 52-35 in the second half and the two teams are now tied atop the Western Conference heading into tomorrow’s matchup.
Salt Lake City made ample use of its size advantage by holding a 61-38 advantage on the glass, including 18-9 on the offensive end. The Stars also outscored the Hustle 24-4 in second chance situations and 70-54 in the paint as Memphis was unable to keep them off the boards.
The Stars hit eight of their first 11 shots and raced out to an 18-12 lead. Memphis responded with a 14-2 run to take its largest lead of the game at six (26-20) with 3:40 left in the opening frame. However, Salt Lake City would outscore Memphis 12-4 to close the quarter and take the lead entering the second.
The first half featured 10 lead changes and nine ties, but the Stars took the lead for good at 47-46 with a Trevon Blueitt three-pointer with 4:27 to go. Two of the league’s leaders in team field goal percentage both shot 49.0 percent or better in the half as the Stars took a 60-56 lead into the break.
Memphis shot just 32.6 percent (14-43 FG) overall and 11.8 percent (2-17 3P) in the second half while the Stars were an efficient 23-of-44 (.523) from the field. The Stars led by 12 entering the fourth and Memphis was still within reach (84-71) with 8:16 to go, but the Stars went on a quick 7-0 run to push the lead to 20. The Hustle’s 91 points tie a season-low for the team.
Marquis Teague led the Hustle with 19 points on 8-of-16 shooting. Raynere Thornton had a season-high 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting to go with six boards. Shaq Buchanan posted his second double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds while leading the team with five assists. Dusty Hannahs (14 points) and Venky Jois (12 points) also reached double figures.
Trevon Bluiett led the Stars in scoring in a reserve role, tallying 19 points on 8-of-12 from the field. Willie Reed followed suit with 18 points and eight rebounds, including six on the offensive glass. The Stars used their rebounding advantage to produce three double-doubles. Jarrell Brantley had a game-high 13 rebounds to go with 12 points. Stars assignee Miye Oni had 11 points and 11 rebounds. Isaac Haas had 12 points and 10 rebounds off the bench.
The Hustle and Stars will play the second half of the back-to-back at 7 p.m. tomorrow inside Landers Center. Tickets are still available starting at $10 each and fans wishing to attend can purchase tickets at ticketmaster.com, the Landers Center Box Office, online at MemphisHustle.com or by calling (901) 888-HOOP.