It was a quick turnaround for the Hustle as they face off against the Texas Legends for the second night in a row. It was a painful defeat last night, as the Legends won 139-129 after leading by 25 entering the 4th quarter. Tyler Dorsey scored 39 for the Legends, with Grant Riller chipping in 30 points as well. The Hustle got 27 points a piece from Dakota Mathias and Matt Hurt but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Legends 20-35 shooting from beyond the arc.
The Hustle were without both their two-way players, but did get some welcome news prior to tipoff with Tyler Dorsey joining McKinley Wright IV as OUT due to illness. With Jaden Hardy recalled to Dallas earlier in the week, the Legends were all of a sudden without their 3 leading scorers for tonights matchup.
It was a much better start from the Hustle compared to last night, as the teams traded baskets throughout the first 6 minutes of the game and found themselves tied at 14. The teams continued to trade baskets throughout the quarter, with 13 lead changes in the first quarter alone. It was a balanced effort by the Hustle, led by Justin Bean with 12 points while Tyler Hall was the key for the Legends scoring 14 points in the first quarter. The Hustle struggled from deep (1-7) but shot 14-17 insight the arc and assisted 12 of their 15 made baskets to give them a 34-29 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Legends were able to start the second quarter with a mini run and had the momentum as they were able to retake the lead in the early minutes of the quarter. The teams traded baskets but the Legends slowly built their lead up to as much as 7 in the later portions of the quarter as the Hustle offense struggled to find the success they had in the first quarter. The Hustle were able to go on a late run to trim the Legends lead down to a single possession heading into the halftime break. The Legends led 56-55 at halftime as they outscored the Hustle by 9 points from beyond the arc. While the Hustle shot just 2-11 from deep, they shot an efficient 22-32 inside the arc to keep the offense going. The Hustle dominated the pain in the first half scoring 42 paint points compared to the Legends 20. Justin Bean led the way with 14 points, 6 rebounds while Matt Hurt had 10 points and 2 blocks. On the Legends side, they were led by Tyler Hall (16 points) and Grant Riller (12 points).
It was an up and down 3rd quarter as the teams traded baskets as the Hustle couldn’t quite retake the lead, but the Legends couldn’t pull away. The Hustle were able to tie the game up midway through the quarter, really using the pick and roll to attack the Legends defense that led to efficient looks at the rim from EJ Onu and Matt Hurt. The Legends were able to respond, however, and extended their lead back out to 7 points in the waning minutes of the 3rd quarter. The Hustle ultimately found themselves entering the 4th quarter down 86-81.
It was a thrilling start to the 4th as the Hustle finally got a couple of 3-point attempts to drop as they tied the game early in the 4th. The Hustle were finally able to retake the lead midway through the quarter as Matt Hurt attacked the basket at will. The teams traded baskets throughout the final half of the quarter as neither one could pull away. It was a thrilling end to the game as both teams executed at a high level. The Hustle held a lead but Grant Riller was going off down the stretch as he gave the Legends a 3 point lead with 20 seconds remaining. Dakota Mathias responded with a huge triple to tie the game up just seconds later, giving the Legends the final shot with 15.7 seconds remaining in the game. Justin Bean played some excellent one on one defense against Grant Riller to give the Hustle a shot for the win with just seconds remaining in the 4th quarter. Jason March drew up a beautiful play to give Mathias a wide open look from deep but it just rims out as the teams head to OT tied at 113.
With the new Elam Ending ruling the first team to 120 wins the game instead of the old 2-minute overtime period. Dakota Mathias opens overtime with a mid-range bucket and then Romeo Weems throws down a huge slam dunk to put the Hustle on the verge of victory. The Hustle struggled to get the kill shot to drop, missing good looks on multiple possessions. The Hustle turned a turnover into a Justin Bean corner triple. Beans shot is blocked, but he has the awareness to tip it to a wide open Dakota Mathias who drains the game winning triple to give the Hustle a 120-113 win over the Texas Legends.
The win improves the Hustle to 4-5 on the season and 1-1 in overtime. Matt Hurt finishes with a team high 22 points and 6 rebounds, with Justin Bean chipping in 17 points, 14 rebounds and 4 assists. Dakota Mathias finishes with 16 points, none bigger than the last 8 points he had to end regulation and in the overtime period. Grant Riller finished with 32 points for the Legends, with Tyler Hall finishing with 19 points but just 3 points in the second half.
The Hustle will be back in action on Friday as they travel to Austin to take on the Spurs.