Hustle beat Blue to start road trip
The Memphis Hustle defeated the Oklahoma City Blue 114-109 in a matinee matchup at Paycom Center. The Hustle play its first seven and 10 of its first 11 games away from Landers Center to start the month of March.
Santi Aldama totaled a game-high 25 points (10-22 FG), eight rebounds, two assists and two blocks for Memphis. Ahmad Caver posted his fifth double-double of the regular season with 14 points, 10 assists and two steals. Shaq Buchanan added 19 points, four rebounds and two assists while Damien Jefferson pitched in 16 points and two rebounds.
Jahmi’us Ramsey led Oklahoma City with 20 points, four rebounds and two steals off the bench. Robert Woodard II posted a double-double with 14 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks. Zavier Simpson added 17 points, eight assists and six rebounds.
The game was locked at 94-94 with 10:44 remaining before a 9-2 scoring run from the Hustle, sparked by two 3-pointers from Jefferson, gave Memphis a 103-96 lead with 8:27 to play. Simpson connected on a contested runner in the lane, cutting the lead to 111-109 with 1:48 to play, but Memphis held the Blue scoreless the remainder of the way. Jefferson scored eight points in the fourth quarter to give Memphis the spark they needed on the offensive end.
Memphis, who entered the day ranked fourth in forced turnovers, forced Oklahoma City into 22 turnovers, leading to a 20-9 scoring advantage in points off turnovers. The Blue outshot the Hustle 51.9 percent to 43.7 percent from the field on 22 fewer shot attempts, but Memphis capitalized on Oklahoma City’s miscues.
Aldama scored 18 of his 25 points in the first half, helping Memphis to a 63-61 advantage. Ramsey led the Blue at halftime with 11 points while Hoard and Woodard II added 10 points each.
The Blue shot 58.1 percent from the field in the first three quarters, but the Hustle made it difficult in the fourth quarter, limiting Oklahoma City to 31.6 percent shooting in the final 12 minutes.
Next, the Hustle travel to Santa Cruz for a back-to-back against the Warriors beginning on Friday, March 4, at 9 p.m. CT on NBAGLeauge.com.