Down 21 points in the third quarter, it didn’t look like Marquis Teague and the Memphis Hustle (17-28) would make a game of it against the Santa Cruz Warriors (22-22). But, the home team fought back improbably, thanks to 30 second-half points from Teague and some timely shooting from Omari Johnson, to fall by just four 126-122.
Teague took only two shots in the first half scoring no points, uncharacteristic for the team’s second-leading scorer. He came out in the third much more aggressive, scoring 14 in the quarter and catching fire in the fourth for 16 more.
“Second half I told him—I got onto him a little bit,” head coach Glynn Cyprien said of Teague postgame. “I says, ‘I need your energy.’ He says, ‘I got you, coach.’ And that’s what veteran guys do.”
“He’s one of, if not the best point guard in this league,” Cyprien said. “In the second half, he was just tremendous. He made plays, not by just scoring, but he made plays for others, and he was good on the defensive end.”
In the end, Teague’s effort wasn’t enough to topple the Warriors, who were led by strong performances from Damion Lee and Chris Bouchard. Lee posted a near triple-double with 25 points on 75 percent shooting, eight rebounds, seven assists, and two steals. The 6’11 Bouchard surprised from long range, nailing three of five from deep for 25 points and 12 rebounds.
“They hit 17 threes. That’s what they do; they’re a good shooting team,” Cyprien lamented. In order to combat the Warriors barrage, he switched to a zone which confused Santa Cruz in the fourth quarter. Memphis was no slouch shooting the ball, canning 15 of its own shots from long range.
Jeremy Pargo played well for Santa Cruz, putting up 19 points and 11 assists, six of which were in the first quarter. For the home squad, Teague finished with four rebounds and six assists in addition to his 30 piece. Two-way player Myke Henry had 16 points and Austin Nichols posted a strong 18 points and six boards.
Coach Cyprien, after praising him in a post game interview, sees Austin Nichols grabbing a to go box of food and tells him, "Sorry I couldn't get you more minutes"— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) March 10, 2018
After one-quarter of play, both teams were knotted at 25. The teams shared nearly identical stats in the period, but what stood out were the scoring of Lee and passing of Pargo for Santa Cruz. Lee was the leading scorer at quarter’s end with nine, while Pargo had dished out six assists through 12 minutes.
The Warriors used the final three and a half minutes to create some separation from the Hustle, leading at the break 62-54. In addition to another strong quarter from Lee, who had 17 points and six rebounds at the half, Bouchard hit three triples to give him 17 as well to go with seven rebounds. The Warriors shot over 50 percent from the floor and nearly 50 percent from three, and outrebounded the Hustle by seven boards. The Hustle, by contrast, shot almost 40 percent from the floor and less than 30 percent from three on 17 long distance attempts.
Henry was the lone double-digit scorer for Memphis. He shot 6 of 10 from the floor for 16 points. Teague only attempted two shots at halftime, an unusual occurrence for the team’s second-leading scorer.
The Warriors expanded their lead in the third, leading by as much as 21 points in the period. Pargo scored seven in the quarter and reached the double-digit assist mark. Najeal Young scored all six of his points in the quarter as well. The Warriors continued outrebounding the Hustle and additionally ended the third with seven more assists than the home team.
Teague finally got it going, scoring 14 points in the period on 5/5 shooting in the quarter. Nichols tallied seven points in the frame, though Henry did not register a point.
The Hustle will play again Wednesday, March 14 at the Landers Center against the Sioux Falls SkyForce at 7 p.m.