Nino Johnson

Nino Johnson of the Memphis Hustle fires a shot during Tuesday’s game at the Landers Center against the South Bay Lakers, which left with a 113-106 NBA G League victory over the Hustle. 

The NBA G League Memphis Hustle will hit the road for the next four games after finishing a four-game home stand Tuesday night with a 2-2 record.

Memphis coach Brad Jones hopes his charges will learn one thing in the next few games. Jones hopes the Hustle will learn how to share.

Memphis fell to the South Bay Lakers 113-106 Tuesday night at the Landers Center in Southaven and one glaring statistic from the game was the center of Jones’ post-game comments.

“We’ve been either number one or number two in the league in offense and a big reason we are that is because we share the basketball and play together,” Jones said. “At halftime, we had four assists. I think we average 24 a game and we had four at halftime.”

Memphis finished with 14 assists for the night, but Yuta Watanabe’s 24 points, two assists and nine rebounds, along with four other players scoring in double figures, could not overcome the eight Lakers hitting double digits in the loss, which dropped the Hustle to 16-11 for the season.

Travis Wear led South Bay with 19 points as the Lakers improved to 11-15 for the year.

Memphis took a 23-22 lead after one quarter, but South Bay took charge in the second with a 21-5 run to forge an 11-point lead before settling on a 50-44 advantage at the break.

The Lakers also controlled the boards by 54-46 rebounding margin, including 21 offensive rebounds against the Hustle.

“The offensive rebounds just kind of rip your heart out, especially when you try to prepare for it,” Jones said. “For whatever reason, we couldn’t get hits on guys and get them blocked off, get the rebounds and go.”

Watanabe, one of the pair of two-way players the Hustle have from the Memphis Grizzlies, felt a slow start was a difference.

“We had a lack of energy and a lack of focus,” Watanabe said. “They were crashing boards, but I thought in the second half we came out with a lot of energy and we played hard.”

Grizzlies’ assignee Ivan Rabb added 19 points for Memphis and Markel Crawford scored 16 more, including four straight jumpers to get within 102-100 with 2:23 remaining. However South Bay answered the threat with a three-point shot from Alex Caruso to stop the rally.

The upcoming road trip starts at Rio Grande Valley Friday night, followed by an eastern swing through Delaware, Westchester, N.Y. and to Maine, before returning home for the team’s annual Financial Literacy Education Day Game geared for youngsters on Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 10:30 a.m. It’s expected the largest crowd of the season, made up of mostly youngsters, will be on hand for the game against Santa Cruz that morning.

WASHBURN ADDED: The Memphis Grizzlies Monday added forward Julian Washburn as a two-way player. Washburn was sent to the Hustle and was in uniform Tuesday night, playing seven minutes without scoring. Each team is allowed a maximum of two players with two-way contracts and Washburn joined Watanabe as two-way players with the Grizzlies. Washburn came to Memphis from the Austin Spurs and with his addition, forward/center Jarnell Stokes was waived by the Grizzlies.

PREP HOOP HIGHLIGHTS: Hernando’s Zuri Dunlap became the latest member of the DeSoto County prep basketball 1,000 Point Club Tuesday night, reaching that level in the Lady Tigers’ 55-30 victory over Center Hill. Northpoint Christian beat Margolin Hebrew Academy 66-10 behind Leah Jones with 14 and Meredith Tatko with 11. Horn Lake beat Mitchell (Memphis) 71-50 and Tupelo throttled DeSoto Central 64-35 in other girls’ games reported.

Among boys’ action Tuesday, Calvin Temple led Center Hill with 23 points as the Mustangs improved to 19-1 with a 78-62 win over Hernando. Ken Lewis added 17 for the Mustangs. Lewisburg won its fourth straight and improved to 11-9 with a 71-62 win over South Panola. David Kiesel led Lewisburg with 21 and Isaiah Sheffield added 18 more. The Jorden Flowers (26 points) and C.J. Norfleet (16 points) combination worked again for Northpoint Christian in the Trojans’ 61-42 victory over Margolin Hebrew Academy, while Tupelo stopped DeSoto Central 80-44.

SOCCER KICKS: The big soccer match of the night was at Center Hill where two of the top boys high school 5A soccer teams, according to Maxpreps, met when the Mustangs faced Lewisburg. Top-ranked Lewisburg fell to number two Center Hill 3-1 behind two goals from Ashton Taylor for the 12-1-1 Mustangs. Goalkeeper Dustin Brown made 11 saves in the victory. Hernando claimed its 6A district championship with a 3-2 win over Southaven, DeSoto Central beat Horn Lake 3-1 and Lake Cormorant edged Corinth 2-1 in other Tuesday action.

Claire Waldon’s three-goal hat trick paced the Lewisburg girls to a 3-1 soccer win over Center Hill, which got a goal from Mallory Gaines in the loss. DeSoto Central blanked Horn Lake 9-0, Southaven edged Hernando 5-4 and Corinth shut out Lake Cormorant 6-0 in the other girls’ games of the night.

SPORTS ETC.: Terence Davis of Southaven scored a game-high 21 points for Ole Miss in Tuesday’s 83-69 SEC loss to LSU, a defeat that stopped a 10-game Rebel winning streak. A’Queen Hayes of Middle Tennessee State and Horn Lake was named Conference USA Women’s Basketball Player of the Week after she averaged 15.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and shot 54 percent from the field and recorded her third double-double in four C-USA games.

MUSTANGS-QUISTORS TICKETS: Tickets for the Center Hill-Olive Branch basketball games on Jan 25 were being pre-sold in the Center Hill High School guidance office as of Wednesday, Jan. 16. Tickets will be available from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The cost is $6.

Bob Bakken is Sports Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.

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