The Hustle (3-3) had a quick turnaround following yesterday’s win over the Greensboro Swarm with a matchup against the 5-1 Erie Bayhawks. The Bayhawks entered the game on a 3 game win streak, highlighted by a ton of big name players. Former Hustle star Jarrod Uthoff has been a solid contributor for the Bayhawks, alongside Cassius Winston, Jalen Adams and former NBA-ers Jordan Bell and Omari Spellman.
The Hustle had arguably their best start of season against the Bayhawks, jumping out to a 7-2 leading the first couple minutes of the game. The Bayhawks were able to storm back, shooting 4-5 from beyond the arc in the first half of the quarter, but the Hustle offense was able to keep up with the elite Bayhawks offense. The Hustle jumped out to a 7 point lead before ultimately ending the quarter with the 29-26 lead.
The second quarter was much more of a defensive battle, as the teams combined for just 12 points in the opening 6 minutes of action in the quarter. It was an 8-4 run by the Bayhawks to help them retake the slim lead. The Bayhawks were able to use some Hustle turnovers to their advantage as they jumped out to a 6 point lead before ultimately ending the half up 47-43. It was a defensive battle in the second quarter, but there were some sparks late when Tyrell Terry crashed into Will Magnay who was setting the screen. It was a tough collision that ultimately got Magnay charged with a Flagrant 1 foul for leading his shoulder directly into Tyrell Terry’s chin.
The Bayhawks took over to start the second half, hitting 5 of their first 6 3-point attempts to extend their lead to 17 points by the midway point of the quarter. Jalen Adams was the key to the Bayhawks run as he had 16 points on what felt like a million triples in the quarter. The Bayhawks finished shooting 6-10 from beyond the arc in the quarter and found themselves up 79-65 at the end of the 3rd.
The Hustle were able to slowly craw back into the game, cutting the deficit down to 8 before some unfortunate whistles killed the Hustle momentum. Freddie Gillespie was called for a goaltend on a Bell layup attempt where he was fouled, which resulted in Jason March picking up a technical and leading to a 4-point possession by Erie who jumped back out to a double digit lead. That didn’t stop the Hustle from fighting though as an absolute POSTER from Ahmad Caver and back-to-back triples by Tyrell Terry helped the Hustle cut the lead down to 3.
The Bayhawks regained control before the Hustle refused to quit and cut the Erie lead down to 1 with less than a minute in the game. The Hustle had a chance to send it to OT but Jontay Porter’s 3-point attempt missed as the Hustle ultimately fell to the Bayhawks by a final score of 107-103.
The loss moved the Hustle to 3-4 on the season, but probably a handful of moral victories for the team having a good amount of success against one of the best teams in the G-League this season. Talking with Jason March post game, he admitted he doesn’t really know what clicked this afternoon for the team to get off to their best start to a game in the Gubble, but wishes he did so he could do it every game. He mentioned it could be a carry over from yesterdays game, or the change in the starting lineup that opened up a little bit more spacing but March admits he doesn’t really know.
Jason acknowledged that Erie has a unique blend of size and spacing and how Jarrod Uthoff started at the 5 for the team last season, and Erie has him playing the 3 a lot of times. Jason says he’s proud of the effort against Erie, and that the turnovers are his primary source of concern and frustration.
I also asked Jason about the play that Porter missed the game-tying 3-point attempt and he broke it down for me. The first look was for David through the elevator, and when that wasn’t open he had the option for Jontay or Bennie to get a look from beyond the arc. Jason says there was an option for Terry to get the ball, and thinks film will show him wide open, but that it was the teams first time in that situation and although it wasn’t executed flawlessly, he was happy to see the unselfishness of the team in trying to find the best open look to try and tie the game up.
The Hustle will be back in action Monday at 6:30 PM CT when they’ll face off against the (4-2) Raptors 905.