The Hustle returned home after going 2-4 on their 6 game road trip to face off against the 3-2 South Bay Lakers. The high-powered Laker offense is led by Mason Jones, Mac McClung and Cameron Oliver who all average over 20 points per game. Defense was an issue for the Hustle on their road trip, so slowing down the trio would be a challenge for the Hustle in tonights matchup. To make matters more difficult for the Hustle, they were without Ahmad Caver and Darnell Cowart who missed the game due to injuries.
It was a fast paced first quarter as neither team could pull away in the opening minutes of the game. It was Cameron Young with 8 early points for the Hustle, while the Lakers had a balanced scoring act with 5 points a piece from Mason Jones and Chaundee Brown Jr. as the Lakers led 16-14 midway through the quarter. The teams mostly traded baskets as the Lakers found themselves with a slim 30-26 lead at the end of the first. Cameron Young scored 11 points for the Hustle in the quarter, while the Lakers got 10 points by Mason Jones.
Shaq Buchanan was the key for the Hustle to start the second quarter, as he scored 13 points in the opening minutes for the Hustle. The Lakers were able to respond to the Shaq led run as the Hustle couldn’t really cut into the Laker lead. The Hustle were able to momentarily retake the lead midway through the second quarter but both teams exchanged the lead with neither team able to pull away. The Lakers ultimately took a 65-63 lead into the halftime break.
It was a rough start to the 3rd quarter as the Lakers used a 13-2 run to take a double digit lead in the opening minutes of the quarter. 3-point shooting was the key to the Lakers run as they shot 6-7 from beyond the arc to start the quarter to extend their lead to 20 by the closing minutes of the period. A mini run by the Hustle as they found themselves down 102-87 at the end of the 3rd quarter.
The Hustle were able to slowly craw their way back into things and cut the Lakers lead down to 11 a handful of times in the quarter but weren’t able to cut it into single digits throughout the quarter. The Hustle were finally able to break through and even cut the Laker lead down to 4 in the final minute but the comeback effort wasn’t enough as the Lakers held on to win 124-116.