Markel Crawford scored a career-high 23 points, but his reverse layup at the buzzer wouldn’t fall as the Memphis Hustle fell 96-94 to the South Bay Lakers Saturday night at Landers Center. The Hustle had trouble connecting on the offensive end most of the evening and failed to score 100 points for the first time this season. The South Bay Lakers have now won three straight games.
Crawford knocked down 9-of-18 shot attempts (5-6 FT) while recording three rebounds, three assists and three steals. Dusty Hannahs (20 points) also posted a season-high for scoring on an efficient 9-of-13 from the field. Kyle Casey (12 points, nine rebounds) fell one rebound shy of a double-double. Jevon Carter (10 points) also scored in double figures and grabbed eight rebounds.
Two-way player and Memphis native Johnathan Williams led the Lakers with 20 points and 12 boards on 10-of-17 shooting, marking his sixth double-double of the season. Lakers assignee Isaac Bonga also chipped in 20 points along with nine rebounds. Crawford’s high school teammate at Melrose, Jemerrio Jones, had a game-high 13 rebounds to go with nine points, five assists and three blocks. Three Lakers scored in double digits off the bench, led by Travis Wear’s 18 points. Demarcus Holland (14 points) and two-way player Alex Caruso (11 points) also reached double figures off the bench.
Both teams struggled offensively in the first half, with the Lakers holding a 45-43 lead at the break. Memphis’ 43 points mark a season-low in any half for the team. Things picked up for the Hustle in the third quarter as they outscored South Bay 33-23 in the period, bolstered by a 10-point outburst from Hannahs in a span of 1:32 late in the quarter.
The Lakers would turn the tide again in the fourth and led 94-92 with 27.2 seconds remaining before Carter knocked in a jumper with 8.3 seconds left to tie the game. Caruso would then bank one in on the run with 2.5 seconds to win the game for South Bay. Memphis recorded season lows in field goal percentage (.412, 40-97 FG) and three-point percentage (4-24, .167).
The Hustle complete its first back-to-back of the season tomorrow night against the Iowa Wolves at 6 p.m. CT at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa. The team returns to Landers Center on Tuesday, December 4 at 7 p.m. against the Grand Rapids Drive for Hustle and Hounds Night. All dogs (maximum of two per group) will receive free admission. Tickets are still available starting at $10 and fans wishing to attend can purchase tickets at all Ticketmaster locations, ticketmaster.com, the Landers Center Box Office, online at MemphisHustle.com or by calling (901) 888-HOOP.