The Hustle wrapped up their two game set with the South Bay Lakers earlier tonight after falling to the Lakers on Monday. The Hustle trailed by 21 in the 3rd quarter Monday but were able to cut the lead down to 4 before they ultimately lost by 8. The injuries continued to pile on for the Hustle heading into tonight’s matchup. They were without Ahmad Caver for the second straight game and lost David Stockton to a shoulder injury in the 3rd quarter of Monday night’s game. The shoulder injury kept Stockton out of tonight’s matchup against the Lakers. Joining Caver and Stockton on the injury report is Sean McDermott and Darnell Cowart.
The Hustle, down two key guys in Stockton and Caver, would need big performances by Shaq Buchanan and Tyrell Terry to keep up with the high scoring Laker trio of Mason Jones, Mac McClung and Chaundee Brown Jr. which combined to score 74 points on Monday.
Chaundee Brown Jr. picked up where he left off early tonight as he scored 9 points on 3-3 shooting from beyond the arc in the opening minutes. The Hustle were able to withstand the run and battled with the Lakers throughout most of the quarter. After 4 ties and 3 lead changes, the Hustle took a 23-17 lead into the final few minutes of the first quarter. The Lakers were able to continue their run to wrap up the first quarter and found themselves with a 36-27 lead heading into the second quarter. The Lakers were led by Chaundee Brown Jr.’s 13 points, with 7 points off the bench from Cameron Oliver. Oliver got hurt on a dunk late in the quarter.
Fortunately for the Lakers, Oliver seemed to be okay as he checked in the game a few minutes into the quarter. The Hustle opened the quarter with both Shaq and Tyrell Terry on the bench and it allowed the Lakers to cut into the Hustle lead and make it a 2 point game in the first few minutes of the 2nd quarter. The Hustle went on a 6-0 run as soon as Shaq checked in and they were able to build their lead back up to double digits by the midway point of the quarter. The Lakers went on a late run in the quarter to cut into the Hustle lead down to 2 in the final minutes of the quarter as the Hustle found themselves up 62-60 at the halftime break.
It was a great first half from Shaq Buchanan (14 points, 4 assists) and Freddie Gillespie (12 points, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks) to pace the Hustle, while the Laker duo of Chaundee Brown Jr. (19 points) and Mason Jones (13 points) helped spark their comeback.
The Lakers started the 3rd quarter on a 9-2 run and to make matters worse, Freddie Gillespie picked up a rough looking leg injury which will likely add him to the long list of Hustle players to go down with an injury. The Lakers used a 22-9 run to start the quarter and take a 13 point lead by the midway point of the quarter. The Hustle were able to cut into the lead and make it a 4-point game late in the quarter but the Lakers were able to respond and take a 92-84 lead into the 4th quarter.
The Lakers went on a 5-0 run to start the 4th to extend their lead back to double digits. The Lakers extended their lead to as much as 16 in the quarter but the Hustle were able to battle back and cut it to single digits at the midway point of the 4th quarter. EJ Onu came up huge in the quarter with a couple of big defensive plays and a triple to give the Hustle the lead late in the quarter. The teams traded baskets and found themselves tied at 119 at the end of regulation to send us to overtime. Brown Jr. got things started in OT with a floater to give the Lakers a 2-point lead. Two free throws by Cameron Oliver gave the Lakers a 4-point lead in the final minute. Reggie Hearn answers with a backdoor cut. Mac McClung responds with a floater at the shot clock buzzer to keep the Lakers lead at 4 with 10 seconds left. Shaq Buchanan hit’s a tough 3-pointer to make it a one-point game but the Lakers responded with 2 free throws. Tyrell Terry’s game-tying shot is blocked and the Hustle fall 127-124 to the Lakers.
It was a valiant effort by the Hustle, who found themselves down to 7 available players for a majority of the second half. Ultimately the Hustle came up just short despite Shaq Buchanan’s brilliant 29 point, 7 assist performance. EJ Onu was huge for the Hustle with 17 points, 8 rebounds and 6 blocks off the bench filling in for the injured Freddie Gillespie.