The Memphis Hustle (17-6) lost a tight contest to the Western Conference leading Salt Lake City Stars (16-4) by a score of 125-119 Friday night at Lifetime Activities Center. The game was a back-and-forth affair throughout and featured 21 lead changes along with 10 ties.
Neither team was off the mark to begin the game. Memphis made eight of its first 11 field goal attempts, shooting 64.0 percent (16-25 FG) for the opening frame, while the Stars connected on nine of their first 11 and shot 66.7 percent (16-24). Memphis also shot 4-of-5 from three while the Stars hit 5-of-9 from downtown. Memphis would lead 39-37 at the end of the quarter.
The game stayed tight in the second, but both defenses caught on as Salt Lake City outscored Memphis 25-24. The Hustle built the lead to as many as eight early in the period, but Salt Lake City would reclaim the advantage before Marquis Teague took an inbounds pass coast-to-coast to lift Memphis to a 63-62 halftime lead as time expired.
Memphis was able to keep the game close despite a 10-2 Stars run to start the second half. With the game tied at 76-76 at the 6:15 mark in the third, Josh Jackson went on a 7-0 run by himself to give the lead back to Memphis. After even more lead changes, the game was tied at 111-111 with 3:50 remaining. Salt Lake City went on an 8-2 run over the next 2:15 to obtain a cushion and eventually the win.
Dusty Hannahs had 23 of his 32 points in the first half, finishing just one point shy of tying his career-high and marking his second straight outing of 30 or more. Yuta Watanabe made his first five field goal attempts and finished with 16 points. Matt Mooney (14 points, 10 assists) had the team’s first point-assist double-double of the season. Jackson had a productive line of 14 points, 11 boards and six assists. Three Stars had at least 24 points, led by Miye Oni’s 28 points on 7-of-13 shooting (4-7 3P; 9-10 FT). Jarrell Brantley added 24 points to go with 10 rebounds and six assists. Nigel Williams-Goss added 24 points, seven assists and four rebounds. Trevon Bluiett contributed 18 points off the bench. The team returns to the Mid-South for a seven-game home stand beginning on Monday, January 13 to take on the Santa Cruz Warriors at 7 p.m. inside Landers Center.