Photo: DaJon Jarreau (center) hit season highs for points and assists against Ontario on Sunday. (Bob Bakken/desotocountynews.com)
The Memphis Hustle lost for the fifth straight time in the regular season with Sunday afternoon’s 126-119 loss to the Ontario (California) Clippers at the Landers Center.
Matthew Hurt and DeJon Jarreau were the hot offensive combination for the Hustle against Clippers, combining for 53 points in the loss. For Jarreau, who played college basketball at UMass and Houston, the 25 points and 12 assists marked season highs.
“Matt and I have played together in practice since I’ve been here and we’ve jelled quickly,” Jarreau said about the tandem.
“We had to have him today,” added Hustle coach Jason March. “He was asked to step into a different role and I thought he handled it very well.”
Jarreau’s play helped the Hustle gain a 62-61 lead at halftime, leading his team with 14 points, 10 of which were scored in the second quarter, followed by Hurt’s 11 points.
A Jarreau free throw put Memphis up 91-90 with 28 seconds left in the third quarter and the Hustle ended the period with a 94-93 lead.
Ontario took control of the game in the final quarter, however, as the Clippers scored 17 straight points to take their largest lead of the game at 14. Memphis responded with a 13-3 run to cut the deficit to four with 1:41 remaining in the game. The Clippers’ Armoni Brooks responded with a three-pointer to extend the lead for Ontario, and the Clippers pulled away for the win.
Individually, Hurt’s 28 points was another “up” day for the former Duke University forward who is recovering from a broken hand suffered earlier in the year.
“He’s such a huge part of our team and played great today,” March said. “It was a heck of an effort from him.”
Kobe Brown led Ontario with a triple-double, totaling 19 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. Jordan Miller scored 30 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Armoni Brooks added 22 points off the bench. Clippers assignee Joshua Primo scored 12 points.
March tried to keep his players fresh while trying to pick the pace up against Ontario, but was doing so with only eight roster players on the bench Sunday and help not expected soon.
GG Jackson II has filled in for an injury-depleted Memphis Grizzlies roster, while Jake LaRavia is dealing with his own injury issues, as the Grizzlies announced late Sunday.
“We just tried to manage some rotations and try to get some guys some fresh legs, get them out and get them back in,” March said. “Our guys competed and were ready to go and handled it very well.”
With the loss, the Hustle fell to 2-6 for the regular season, while the Clippers improved to 3-4. The win was only the fourth victory for Ontario in the teams’ all-time series, which is now at 11-4 in favor of the Hustle.
Memphis has yet to win at home during the regular season schedule, now at 0-3.
The teams meet again Tuesday night, Jan. 16 at 7 p.m. at the Landers Center in Southaven.
Jarreau believes his team can break the skid and thinks it can come Tuesday night.
“We’ve gotta come together and keep believing and fighting,” Jarreau said. “We can’t give up. It’s going to turn around.”