The Hustle’s home stand continues with one last game before the All Star Break. The only thing standing between the Hustle and 5 days off were the visiting Stockton Kings. The Kings (8-8) enter tonight’s matchup with the Hustle (5-11) on a two-game losing streak. The Kings success has mostly relied on the availability of assignment players, such as Neemias Queta, Jahm’ius Ramsey and Robert Woodard II among others. The Kings would be without these guys tonight, while the Hustle would meanwhile be without David Stockton, who recently earned a spot on the U.S. Men’s FIBA World Cup qualifying team. The Hustle were also without Darnell Cowart (back), Freddie Gillespie (ankle) and Sean McDermott (knee) for tonight’s matchup against the Kings.
Both defenses were locked in early, as it was a 4-0 Kings lead after the first 3 minutes of action. The offenses woke up a little bit late run the quarter as the Kings took a 13-6 lead midway through the first quarter. The Hustle were able to respond and cut the Kings lead down to 2 points in the final minutes of the quarter before ultimately tying the game. A late free throw by Tyrell Terry gave the Hustle their first lead of the game, as they led 25-23 into the second quarter. It was a strong start for Ben Moore, earning his first start of the season, with 8 first quarter points.
The Hustle were able to continue their run thanks in large part to some hot shooting from Cameron Young. Young hit two triples in the opening minutes of the quarter as they Hustle took a 12 point lead early in the quarter. Both teams traded baskets throughout most of the quarter. After being relatively healthy for a couple of weeks, the Hustle injury woes picked back up in the second quarter. Shaq Buchanan went down temporarily with a leg injury but was forced to return a few minutes later after Tyrell Terry went down with an ankle injury with 3:59 left in the first half. The Hustle were able to respond to the Terry injury with a 15-6 run to give them a 62-43 lead at the halftime break.
It was a great first half for the Hustle against a really good Stockton defense. The Hustle had 17 assists on 24 made baskets while shooting 54% from the field in the first half. Cameron Young led the way with 15 first half points, scoring 12 in the second quarter. Newbie Damien Jefferson scored 8 points, including a buzzer beating triple to help the Hustle take the large halftime lead.
The Kings started the second half with a run to cut the Hustle lead down to 9 in the first 5 minutes of the quarter. The Kings run continued as they cut the Hustle lead down to 4 points midway through the quarter. The Hustle were able to respond with a 6-0 run to extend their lead back to 10. The Hustle run continued as they led by 15 with 2:30 left in the 3rd quarter. Cameron Young and Shaq Buchanan sparked the run with some big time triples, and an alley oop by Buchanan. The Hustle ultimately found themselves up 96-78 entering the 4th quarter. Buchanan and Young both scored 11 points a piece in the quarter to help spark the Hustle response.
The Kings slowly clawed their way back into the game, making it a 10-point game by the midway point of the quarter. The Hustle were able to respond once again, this time with Ahmad Caver doing some heavy lifting, not letting the Kings get any closer than 10 points throughout most of the quarter. The Kings were finally able to break through and make it a single digit game after an Emanuel Terry dunk made it 116-108 with just over a minute left in the game. The Hustle made their free throws and defeated the Kings by a final score of 121-114.
Damien Jefferson another nice find by the Hustle FO. Jefferson was big in his Hustle debut filling in nicely with Stockton out and Terry leaving in the 2nd quarter due to injury. Jefferson finishes with 13 points and 7 rebounds off the bench.
Cameron Young remains a walking bucket. Young’s offensive greatness continued tonight as he scored a season-high 33 points off the bench for the Hustle. Young responded nicely after having his first two single digit games of the regular season last week.
Shaq Buchanan and Ahmad Caver are racing for a triple double. Shaq Buchanan flirted with a triple-double a few times while Ahmad Caver was out with injury, but since his return Caver has come close to the feat himself. He finishes tonight a rebound and an assist shy of a triple double.