Kissimmee, Fla. – The Memphis Hustle, the Grizzlies’ NBA G League affiliate, dropped their season opener to the Austin Spurs 119-111 on Wednesday afternoon inside HP Field House. The Hustle had six players score at least 14 points, but it would not be enough to overcome a dominant fourth quarter from Austin.
Memphis got off to a slow start offensively connecting on just eight of their 27 field goal attempts (29.6 percent) in the opening period. The Hustle found themselves down 20-12 early on before Shaq Buchanan and Benny Boatwright entered the game and steadied the ship. Memphis was able to trim the Austin lead to just 28-24 after the first 12 minutes of play. Khryi Thomas had the hot hand early on for the Spurs, tallying nine of his 22 points in the first quarter alone. The two teams traded baskets to start the second period before Austin stretched their lead to as many as 13 points (56-43). After trailing 58-45 with 2:28 to play, Memphis ripped off an 11-0 run to bring the Austin lead to just 58-56 heading into the halftime break. Memphis guard Ahmad Caver scored 12 points in the second quarter on 3-of-3 shooting to give Memphis a much needed spark.
The Hustle found their rhythm on the offensive end in the third quarter, scoring 34 points on 13-of-23 shooting. Memphis quickly took a seven point lead following an acrobatic transition lay-up from Tyrell Terry. Memphis carried an eight point lead into the final quarter at 90-82 after limiting Austin to 1-of-8 shooting from behind the arc in the third quarter. The Hustle held a 107-97 advantage with 5:23 remaining in the game, however the Spurs ripped off a 20-3 run to take a commanding 117-110 lead with only 11.3 seconds remaining. The Spurs dominated the quarter 37-21 while holding the Hustle to 27.3 percent shooting. Luka Samanic and Thomas both scored 10 points in the final period to help lead Austin to the eight point victory. The Spurs out-assisted the Hustle 36-20 and out-shot them 46.9 percent to 38.1 percent from the field.
Buchanan posted a double-double with 18 points (7-17 FG), 12 rebounds, one assist and one block to lead Memphis. Caver posted 19 points, six rebounds, two assists and one steal in 31 minutes off the bench. Terry totaled a team-high tying 19 points, four rebounds and two assists in 34 minutes. Rookie center Freddie Gillespie posted a double-double with 14 points, 10 rebounds and three assists in 25 minutes as Memphis fell to 0-1.
Robert Woodard II led the way for Austin with a game-high 25 points (10-14 FG) to go with seven rebounds, two assists and one steal. Cameron Reynolds totaled 22 points, four rebounds and one assist on 9-of-18 shooting. Thomas finished the game with 22 points (8-16 FG, 4-9 3P), eight rebounds, two assists and two steals in 31 minutes. Samanic posted a monstrous double-double with 20 points, 17 rebounds and six assists as Austin moved to 1-0.
The Hustle will return to the court Thursday, Feb. 11, as they meet the Canton Charge at 2:30 p.m. inside HP Field House to conclude their season-opening back-to-back. Fans can watch the game on GrindCityMedia.com or stream it on ESPN+.