The Hustle returned home after a one game trip to Iowa on a two-game losing streak falling to the Wolves and Lakers over the weekend. The Hustle have struggled with Brandon Goodwin getting a well-deserved NBA call up to the Denver Nuggets. Tyler Harvey and Dusty Hannahs have played well in Goodwin’s absence but it hasn’t translated to wins for the Hustle just yet. The Hustle will have Ivan Rabb’s help, though, as he got assigned to the Hustle after the Joakim Noah signing became official. The Drive were without Khyri Thomas and Henry Ellenson, who are with the Pistons.
The Hustle jumped out to an early lead behind Ivan Rabb. Rabb drained a 3 pointer as well as a strong put-back off an offensive rebound. The Hustle lead 14-13 midway through the first in a surprisingly low scoring quarter. Michael Bethea Jr. was on fire to start the game, ending the first quarter with 11 points on 3-5 shooting from beyond the arc giving the Drive the 23-22 lead. Ivan Rabb lead the Hustle with 5 points and 5 rebounds, while Yuta Watanabe and Tyler Harvey both chipped in 4 points a piece.
The Drive jumped out to a quick 32-26 lead on the Hustle in the second, but the Hustle quickly battled back to take the lead on the Drive. Markel Crawford led the Hustle charge with 7 points in the first 5 minutes of the quarter. The Hustle defense shut down the Drive throughout the middle of the quarter, limiting them to just 2 points over an 8 minutes span that saw the Hustle take a double digit lead. Ultimately, the 2nd quarter ended with the Hustle on top 50-41. The Hustle were led by Ivan Rabb’s 12 points and 6 rebounds. Every Hustle player to step on the court, with the exception of Jarvis Varnado, scored in what has been a well-balanced effort by the team.
The 3rd quarter saw both offenses struggle to put points on the board, with the Drive slowly cutting into the Hustle lead throughout the quarter. The 3rd quarter consisted of pretty uninspiring play from both teams as the Drive cut the Hustle lead to as low as 3 points. The Hustle regained momentum at the end of the quarter as Dusty Hannahs drilled a buzzer beating 3 a foot after crossing over the half-court line to give the Hustle the 76-67 lead at the end of the quarter.
The Hustle extended their lead to double digits to start the 4th quarter and never looked back. The Hustle extended their lead to as much as 17 points in the quarter. The Drive made a short run to try and keep things close, but couldn’t cut the Hustle lead to single digits. The Hustle ended up running away with the 109-93 win. The Hustle were led by Ivan Rabb’s near triple double as he finished the game with 21 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists. Dusty Hannahs’ dropped a team high 25 points off the bench to help the Hustle build their second half lead. The efforts by Zach Lofton (25 points) and Michael Bethea Jr. (20 points) weren’t enough for the Drive to stay in the game against a balanced Hustle team.
It was a nice response from a Hustle team that snapped a 2 game losing streak. The Hustle will stay at home with their next game action on Friday against the Iowa Wolves