Despite two outstanding individual performances for the Memphis Hustle (15-25), the Northern Arizona Suns (18-19) were able to sneak out a road win 120-119 at the Landers Center in the game’s penultimate possession.
Tied at 119, Archie Goodwin drove into the paint and drew a foul on Kobi Simmons with 1.6 seconds remaining. Goodwin made one of two from the line, and the Hustle were unable to complete a sideline out of bounds play for the win.
In the loss, the Hustle made a bit of history. Omari Johnson helped the team come back from a 17 point deficit in the second quarter by connecting on eight of his 13 three point attempts on the night, the most makes from distance in Hustle history.
However, he deferred credit to his teammates for hitting him with timely passes when he was open.
“My point guards were finding me,” Johnson said after the game. “They were finding me and I was doing my part to knock down shots.”
He finished as the game high scorer with 30 points, tied for a career high. He also had seven rebounds.
Myke Henry was a fireball in the fourth quarter. The two way player finished with 26 points, 14 of which came in the final period and 12 of which came in the final six minutes.
“We know he’s capable of making plays,” head coach Glynn Cyprien said, “When he puts it on the floor he can finish at the rim... He made some big shots down the stretch.”
Henry was able to do all this in less than 24 minutes and while shooting just one of six from deep. He also recorded eight rebounds (tied for the team high), two assists, and four turnovers.
Those turnovers were not a product of Henry alone as mistakes plagued the Hustle from the outset. The team committed 21 turnovers—Marquis Teague had eight on his own—nine less than their opponents.
“You can’t beat anybody with 21 turnovers and 20 assists,” Cyprien said. “We could have made some shots down the stretch, but you can’t come down and kick the ball in the stands.”
Teague finished the game with 19 points on seven of 11 shooting, five rebounds, and seven assists with those eight cough ups.
The first quarter was not kind to the Hustle as it trailed the Suns by 15 points 40-25. The Suns had even play across the board with eight points from Josh Gray (plus two boards and two dimes), seven points from House (two rebounds, two assists) and Hollis-Jefferson, and six apiece from Alec Peters (two way) and Goodwin (three assists).
The second quarter belonged to the Hustle who trailed only by four at halftime, 62-58. Johnson led all scorers with 15 on five of seven shooting from deep while Teague tagged 13 points, three rebounds, and three assists, and Henry scored eight of his 10 first half points in the period. The team continued its hot shooting from the first quarter, hitting 56.4 percent, though it continued to cough the ball up with seven more turnovers in the quarter for a total of 14 at the half.
Goodwin hit six of his first 10 shots for 13 points while adding four rebounds and four assists for the Suns. House could have had more than his dozen first half points had he connected a few easy layups. Northern Arizona’s field goal percentage dropped 16.6 percentage points from the first quarter to the second as the team came back down to earth with a 46.4 percent halftime percentage.
After three quarters, the Hustle trailed 93-86 in an evenly matched quarter. Johnson was the high point man through three with 23 on seven of 10 from distance, tying a Hustle single game record for most made three’s in the quarter. Goodwin led the Suns with 18 points on eight of 14 shooting, five rebounds, six assists, and four steals.
On a roster with three two way players and two former NBA players, Danuel House (two way) stood out for the Suns. He finished with 28 points and six boards while his teammate and former Kentucky guard Goodwin had 23 points, five rebounds, nine assists, and five steals.
Lavoy Allen racked up the only double-double of the night with 12 points and 12 rebounds (nine of which were offensive [author’s note: !!!]). Mike Young (two way) and Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson both came close though, putting up 10 and nine and 17 and nine respectively.
Northern Arizona shot 63 percent from the field and made two thirds (66.7%) of their three point attempts. Memphis shot well from the field, but not quite as hot as the Suns, hitting almost 58 percent of their first quarter attempts.
The Hustle were led by Teague who was a quarter-high scorer with nine. However, he had three of the team’s seven turnovers in the first. Four of those lost possessions were takeaways by the Suns. Conversely, the Suns only had one turnover.
The Hustle will next play Saturday at noon against the Reno Big Horns (20-16) at the Landers Center.