The Hustle return home after a 1-1 road trip to host the Iowa Wolves. The Hustle beat Wolves last week at Landers Center but today’s game was very different in many ways. Hustle were without transferees Santi Aldama and Yves Pons while Wolves were without two-way player McKinley Wright IV. The game also kicked off at 10:30 a.m. CT as part of the Financial Literacy Day game. More than 2,000 students from the DeSoto County area were able to watch the morning game and cheer on the Hustle, while learning a lot about financial literacy. The Hustle enter the game healthier than they have been in some time, with only Freddie Gillespie and Sean McDermott scoring in only the second game of the season the Hustle has been this healthy.
It was a struggle from the start for both teams, as the first tip took them a while to find a good rhythm. The teams combined for just 8 points in the first 3 minutes of action before the offenses started rolling later in the quarter. Brian Bowen II continued his strong showing last week against the Hustle with an opening 10 points in this one, while EJ Onu netted an opening 6 points for the Hustle. David Stockton hit the showers early after challenging a foul call on the Hustle with a minute left in the first quarter. Technical free throws took Wolves to a 30-22 lead in the second quarter.
It was another slow start to the quarter for both teams as they only managed one field goal per play in the first 3 minutes of the quarter. The Hustle managed to make it a 5-point game early, but an 8-0 run from Wolves helped them take a 13-point lead midway through the quarter. A quick 6-0 run from Ben Moore helped the Hustle get straight back into things as they cut Wolves’ lead to 2 at the end of the second quarter. The Hustle were able to use that run to take a late lead over Wolves, but a hat-trick from Vincent Edwards in the dying seconds put Wolves into a 49-48 half-time lead.
All in all, it was a solid half from the Hustle, who mostly narrowly missed the shots they normally do. The fact that it was a one-point deficit despite Shaq Buchanan not playing well (4 points on 2-8 shooting) and Stockton’s early ejection seems to bode well for the second half. The Hustle were led by EJ Onu (11 points, 5 rebounds, 4 blocks) and Ben Moore (10 points) with Ahmad Caver having his all game with 6 points, 7 assists and 3 steals. Wolves got 12 points a play from Brian Bowen II and Isaiah Miller to pace their attack.
The Hustle went on a 6-0 run to start the 3rd Quarter to regain the lead against Wolves. Wolves responded with a 10-0 run to take a 5-point lead midway through the 3rd quarter. In typical Hustle fashion, they salvaged things after Wolves extended their lead and leveled the game with 4 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter. Wolves were able to respond with their own run and took an 80-74 lead in the final quarter of the game.
The Hustle managed to keep things close early in the quarter, but Wolves raced to extend their lead to 10 midway through the 4th. The Hustle managed to recover and reduce the lead to 4 in the final minutes of the game. The Hustle struggled to close until the last minute of the match. They trailed by 4 with 30.4 seconds left and had a chance to cut it to a point, but Shaq only managed one of three free throws with 11 seconds left. Reggie Hearn drains a triple, but to keep the Hustle in things. Vincent Edwards split the free throws with 6.9 seconds left and Ahmad Caver takes the ball coast to coast and tied the game at 104 with 0.2 remaining in the game. The Hustle stops by to send this game to OT!
Ben Moore splits a pair of free throws to start overtime, then grabs a huge rebound on the defensive end. Moore splits another pair of free throws to give the Hustle a 2-point lead in the final minute. Isaiah Briscoe responds with two free throws to even things up at 106. Wolves had the ball with 1.9 seconds left in the OT period but couldn’t get a shot as we head into a second OT.
Isaiah Briscoe hits a lay-up to open the OT period and Wolves were able to stop at the other end. Briscoe then responds with a triple to make it a 5-point game with 47.4 remaining. Those were the only points in the second period OT as Wolves held on 111-106 in double OT.
- The Hustle scouting department deserves a raise. The Hustle got a great production of guys they had to sign and choose from the G League pool of players. Cameron Young has been excellent offensively for the Hustle. EJ Onu is a solid diamond in the rough, showing his raw potential with an excellent but admittedly streaky game. Ben Moore was excellent in only his second game in a Hustle uniform scoring 22 points.
- A tough day for the stars of Hustle. Southaven big names had a bad day offensively for the Hustle. Stockton was ejected after just 3 minutes of action. Shaq Buchanan scored 14 points and 9 rebounds but only shot 5-21 from the field and 0-9 from outside the arc. Tyrell Terry and Ahmad Caver ended up with pretty solid games as Terry scored 11 points and 7 assists on 5-13 shooting. Caver finishes with 12 points, 7 assists and 5 steals on 5-16 shooting.