Hustle run away from Red Claws in battle of unbeatens

By Geoff Langham | November 26, 2019

Southaven, Miss. – The Memphis Hustle became the fourth team in NBA G League history to win its first seven games to start the season, defeating the previously undefeated Maine Red Claws (5-1) 119-96 Monday night at Landers Center. The Hustle outscored the Red Claws 61-40 in the second half.

Box Score

Memphis won the turnover battle by as massive margin, forcing 26 Red Claw turnovers that led to a franchise-high 39 points off turnovers. Meanwhile, the Hustle committed just eight turnovers, marking a season-low and falling just one shy of tying a franchise low. The Hustle have lost the turnover battle just once all season and their 18 steals tonight tied a franchise high. Memphis also held a 39-6 advantage in fastbreak situations.

Maine’s 62-44 edge on the boards kept them in the game into the second half. The Red Claws’ 29 offensive rebounds, including 14 by two-way player Tacko Fall alone, are the most ever by a Hustle opponent. The Hustle improved to 7-0 despite the Maine defense holding them to a season-low from three (31.4 percent) for the second straight game. Memphis entered the game leading the league in three-point percentage.

The Hustle opened the game on a 9-2 run, but Maine had early answers every time Memphis would extend the lead. Grizzlies assignee Josh Jackson had 15 of his 23 points in the period (7-8 FG) while Memphis won the turnover battle 5-1. After missing their first eight three-pointers Friday night, the Hustle knocked down five of their first seven.

After taking a 44-33 lead with 8:54 remaining in the second following a putback dunk by Yuta Watanabe, Maine answered with an 8-0 run over the next 2:08 to cut the lead back to three. Maine gained its first lead since the opening bucket to gain a 48-47 lead and complete a 15-3 run since 2-0.

After Maine tied the game at 63-63 with 10:01 to go, the Hustle went on a 15-2 run over the next 5:23 to gain their largest lead to that point, eventually leading 84-73 heading into the final frame. The Red Claws would come no closer than 10 points in the final frame.

Dusty Hannahs led the Hustle with a season-high 28 points on 9-of-14 shooting (5-8 3P) to go with four assists and three steals. To go with his 23 points, Jackson added five rebounds and five assists. Two-way player Yuta Watanabe (22 points) reached the 20-point plateau for the third straight game and added six assists and five rebounds. Nino Johnson (10 points, 11 rebounds) added a double-double off the bench while Jarrod Uthoff (17 points, nine rebounds) fell one rebound shy.

Fall finished with 16 points and a game-high 18 rebounds, recording a double-double by halftime. Trey Davis led the Red Claws with 19 points to go with eight rebounds and six assists. Yante Maten (18 points, 12 rebounds) and Kaiser Gates (16 points, 10 rebounds) also posted double-doubles for Maine.                                                                               

The team returns to Landers Center on Saturday, November 30 to take on Midwest Division rival Oklahoma City Blue 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, online at MemphisHustle.com or by calling (901) 888-HOOP.