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The Hustle Report: Recapping week 18 of the Hustle’s inaugural season

Omari Johnson reclaims MVP of the Week in a 1-1 week for the Hustle

SEC Basketball Tournament - Quarterfinals Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Week 18 Results

Memphis Hustle 128 (17-26) @ Northern Arizona Suns 116

Memphis Hustle 120 (17-27) @ Santa Cruz Warriors 132

Week 18 Storylines

Game 43 Breakdown

SEC Basketball Tournament - Second Round Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Omari Johnson- 30 points, 16 rebounds
  • Marquis Teague- 22 points, 9 assists
  • Dusty Hannahs- 18 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists
  • Austin Nichols- 17 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks
  • J.J. Frazier 16 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists

The Hustle were able to defeat the Suns behind Omari Johnson’s monster game and win the season series against the Suns 2-1. It was a well balanced game from the Hustle who had 6 of their 8 available players score in double figures. The Hustle won thanks in large part to a huge advantage down low. The Hustle outscored the Suns 50-34 in the paint and outrebounded the Suns 53-41. The game was tied after the first 3 quarters, but a dominant 34-22 4th quarter helped the Hustle get and build upon the lead.

The Hustle were able to fight off a big game from Alec Peters and Josh Gray who combined for 61 of the Suns points. It was a big win for the Hustle after losing to the Suns in the waning seconds just a few weeks ago.

Game 44 Breakdown

NCAA Basketball Tournament - Second Round - Northern Iowa v Texas A&M Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Omari Johnson- 22 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists
  • Dusty Hannahs- 22 points, 3 assists
  • Marquis Teague- 20 points, 9 assists
  • Jeremy Morgan- 19 points, 2 steals, 2 blocks
  • J.J. Frazier- 15 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists

The Hustle dropped their last game of the road trip against the Warriors despite another big game from Omari Johnson. A slow first quarter had the Hustle down early, but they were able to come back and make it a game in large part to the 19 3-pointers they made. The 3’s weren’t enough to get the victory, though, as the Warriors shot nearly 62% from the field, a franchise-high for a Hustle opponent. The loss has the season series with the Warriors split at one game a piece, with Saturday’s game game being the season-series clincher.

MVP of the Week - Omari Johnson

Oregon State v UCLA Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

Omari Johnson takes back the MVP of the Week award after a great offensive week for the Hustle. Omari averaged 26 points and 11.5 rebounds per game last week while also shooting 50% from the field and 62% from beyond the arc. OJ has been a man on the mission since returning from injury mid-January and has become one of the Hustle’s most consistent players.

Numbers to Know

402: Omari Johnson has climbed to 7th in G-League history with 402 3-pointers made in his career. It’s quite the achievement for the 28 year old out of Oregon State. Don’t let Johnson’s age fool you though, as he’s only in his 3rd season in the G-League. At the rate OJ is going, the only thing stopping him from climbing higher on this list is a NBA call-up.

44.1%: After a cool-shooting start to the season, Dusty Hannahs has gotten hot from 3 as of late, now averaging 44.1% on the season and making 8 3’s last week bolstered by a nice 6/7 shooting against the Warriors. Dusty is a great 3-point shooter and is a threat from anywhere on the court. The Hustle offense opens up so much more when Dusty is feeling it from beyond the arc.

9: In the win over the Suns, the Hustle committed only 9 turnovers, which is 7 less than they typically have per game. Taking care of the ball didn’t allow the Suns to get easy fast break points that have crippled the Hustle multiple times throughout this season. The Hustle have only had single-digit turnovers 3 other times this season. A lot of G-League games can get sloppy so it’s always good to highlight when the Hustle are able to take good care of the ball.

Week 18 Grade - B+

Memphis v Virginia Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Hustle had a solid week getting revenge against the Suns and staying competitive against a solid Warriors team. It would’ve been nice to see how the Hustle would have fared without getting down double digits to start the game against the Warriors, but credit once again to Coach Cyprien for keeping his team motivated and fighting no matter the deficit. A 1-1 week against pretty good western conference foes is a pretty good week in my book.

Week 19 Preview

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Santa Cruz Warriors (21-22) @ Memphis Hustle 3/10 12 PM Noon

Sioux Falls SkyForce (24-19) @ Memphis Hustle 3/14 7 PM

Game 45 Preview: The Hustle will get the chance to turn around and get revenge on Saturday after falling to the Warriors last Sunday. The easy key to the game would be to not allow the Warriors to shoot 62%. Defense will definitely be a major factor in this game as it’s unlikely the Warriors shoot that well again, but it’s also unlikely the Hustle drain 19 3’s. The Hustle will need to do much better defensively down low as they were outscored 70-36 in the paint and limited to a season low 29 rebounds in the game. If the Hustle can crash the boards better, they should be able to clinch the season series with a victory.

Game 46 Preview: The Hustle will stay home to wrap up their season series with the division leading Sioux Falls SkyForce, who are currently leading the season series 2-1. If the Hustle can defeat the SkyForce and split the season series against the potential division champions, that would be a good moral victory for the Hustle in their inaugural season. To come away with the victory the Hustle will need to slow down one of the best offensive attacks in the G-League. The SkyForce are lead by former Grizzly Briante Weber and Alabama alums Alonzo Gee and Tony Mitchell. If the defense can slow those three down, the Hustle have a shot at beating the SkyForce.

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