The 0-2 Memphis Hustle tip off for the first time this season in Southaven to face off against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. The Vipers defeated the Hustle 119-103 to the start the season and haven’t played since. In the season opener, Brandon Sampson and Danuel House combined for 48 points to route the Hustle. Who will win the shootout between the Hustle and the Vipers? Let’s find out.
The Vipers jumped out to a quick 5-2 lead a minute into the game, prompting a quick timeout for Brad Jones. The Hustle tied the game up quickly after the timeout and kept it close with the Vipers throughout the quarter. Hot 3 point shooting from the Vipers helped them jump out to a 34-32 lead at the end of the first quarter. Danuel House lead the Vipers with 7 points while the Hustle were lead by Yuta Watanabe and Brandon Goodwin who both scored 6 points a piece. The Vipers made five 3 point attempts compared to the just one for the Hustle. The first quarter was an up and down affair that saw 16 total lead changes.
The Hustle jumped out to an early lead in the second quarter behind strong play from Jevon Carter and Doral Moore. Moore scored 11 points in the first 6 minutes of the quarter, getting the Viper big men in foul trouble along the way. The Hustle jumped out to a 5 point lead behind Moore’s outburst but got cold as soon as he sat on the bench. With Moore on the bench, the Vipers regained a brief lead but Jevon Carter and Brandon Goodwin took over down the stretch to give the Hustle a 68-65 halftime lead. Doral Moore lead the Hustle with 14 points and 5 rebounds, with Brandon Goodwin chipping in 11 points as well. Jevon Carter, D.J. Stephens and Yuta Watanabe each scored 9 points in the half as well. The Hustle survived the Vipers shooting 10/21 from beyond the arc, while only making two of their nine 3 point attempts. Vincent Edwards lead the Vipers with 10 points and shooting 2-4 from beyond the arc.
The beginning of the second half was the Jevon Carter show as #3 drained 3 triples in the first 4 minutes of the 3rd, helping the Hustle jump out to an early 83-76 lead. Lead by a Jevon Carter buzzer beater, the Hustle finished the quarter with a 99-88 lead. Jevon Carter dropped 14 point in the quarter behind four 3 pointers. Yuta Watanabe had a nice quarter as well, with a nice 8 points.
The Hustle controlled the pace throughout the 4th, maintaining their double digit lead. Yuta Watanabe started the quarter with a big 3 point play and had other crucial plays down the stretch. The Hustle defense put the clamps on the Vipers, controlling the pace and seemingly frustrating every Viper player. The Hustle got their revenge on the Vipers, beating them 124-111 to even up the season series. The Hustle were lead by Jevon Carter who scored 25 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Yuta Watanabe dropped a career high 25 points to go along with 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. The Hustle forced 23 Vipers turnovers which played a key role in their win. It was a great win for the Hustle after being blown out by the Vipers in their first matchup. Yuta and Jevon are going to be a ton of fun down in Southaven this season.