The Hustle returned home back to the Landers Center for the first time in 9 days for a big weekend matchup against the Salt Lake City Stars. Going into the weekend, the Hustle hold a slim 1 game lead over the Stars in the Western Conference standings. It is a difficult matchup for the Hustle as they were without Jarrod Uthoff (NBA Call up) and both two-way players in John Konchar and Yuta Watanabe. Meanwhile the Stars had the benefit of having both of their two-way players as well as Miye Oni on assignment.
The Stars were able to jump out to an early 6 point lead on the Hustle thanks in large part to attacking the Hustle on the fast break. The Hustle were able to calm down after the initial minutes and went on a 14-2 to take the lead midway through the quarter. The Stars then put 7’2” 290 pound Isaac Hass in the game and he proved to be a nuisance for the Hustle. His size was able to force the Hustle defense to crash into the paint, giving up a few open 3’s for the Stars who were able to retake the lead by the end of the first quarter.
The Hustle and Stars exchanged leads in the early parts of the second quarter as neither team was able to gain separation from the other. It was a fast paced quarter that featured what felt like a million lead changes before the Stars ultimately went into the halftime break with a 60-56 lead over the Hustle. Rebounding was an issue for the Hustle in the first half as they were out rebounded 30-17 giving up 10 offensive rebounds that resulted in 13 second chance points for the Stars.
The Stars came out firing to start the 3rd quarter and were able to extend their lead to 10 in the opening minutes of the quarter. After exchanging baskets for most of the quarter after the Stars initial run, the Hustle slowly crept back into things and cut the Stars lead to 5 late in the quarter. The Stars were able to halt the Hustle run late in the quarter and eventually finished the quarter with a 87-75 lead.
The Stars began to pull away to start the 4th quarter, extending their lead to as much as 17 in the opening minutes. The Hustle were able to cut into the Stars lead a little bit midway through the quarter but the Stars had a response for every Hustle run. By the end of the game, the size of the Stars was just too much for the Hustle as they end up losing 112-91.
The Stars out rebounded the Hustle 64-41 and scored 24 second chance points on the night. With a matchup again tomorrow against the Stars, the Hustle are going to have to do a better job of attacking the glass.