The Hustle entered todays game looking to avenge their Friday night’s loss to the Mexico City Capitanes in the season opener of the Showcase Cup. With just 11 games left to secure a good spot in the tournament, getting off to a good start is critical for the Hustle.
After having just 8 players available on Friday night, the Hustle got some reinforcements in the form of 5 Grizzlies assignments and transfers. Jarrett Culver, Sam Merrill, Santi Aldama, Killian Tillie and Yves Pons were all sent down to Southaven to play with the Hustle for today’s matinee matchup. Unfortunately for the Hustle, Pons was a last minute scratch as he picked up an undisclosed injury in pregame warmups.
It was a rocky start for both teams offensively, as neither team could get it going from beyond the arc combining to shoot 1-7 from distance through the first 6 minutes of the first quarter as the teams were tied. The Hustle offense got going a little bit in the later portions of the quarter as they were able to jump out to an 8 point lead in the final minutes of the quarter thanks to some hot shooting from Sam Merrill. Merrill hit 3 triples in the quarter helping the Hustle take a 30-25 lead after the first quarter.
Both offenses struggled to get things going offensively to start the second quarter until the Capitanes used a run to tie things up at 39 midway through the second. The Hustle were able to respond to the Capitanes run to extend their lead back up to 7 late in the first half thanks to some big baskets by Ahmad Caver and a triple by Killian Tillie. The Hustle ultimately found themselves up 55-51 at the halftime break thanks in large part to 11 points a piece from Caver and Merrill.
The Capitanes used a quick run at the start of the quarter to tie things up and the teams traded baskets through the first 6 minutes of the 3rd quarter. The Hustle offense got going a bit to end the quarter as Shaq Buchanan and Ahmad Caver got some good looks at the rim. The Hustle couldn’t quite separate themselves from the Capitanes but they also had a response to every Capitanes run en route to 82-76 at the end of the 3rd quarter.
The Hustle offense was sparked by 12 early points from Matthew Hurt to help extend their lead up to 10 points in the early minutes of the quarter. The two teams traded baskets throughout most of the 4th quarter as the Hustle held onto their 10 point lead into the final minutes of the game. The Capitanes hit a couple of triples late in the quarter to cut the deficit to 4 points and keep things interesting. The Hustle ultimately held on to win 110-106 to earn their first win of the season.
The Hustle had 7 players score in double figures, led by Sam Merrill’s 20 points. The Hustle outscored the Capitanes by 15 points from beyond the arc and caught up to only lose the rebounding battle by 3 rebounds.
The Hustle will have over a week off until the official home opener on November 16th against the Texas Legends.
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