Hustle stop Charge with balanced scoring attack

The Memphis Hustle evened their NBA G League record at 1-1 Thursday with a 114-102 victory over the Canton Charge in Kissimmee, Florida. Six Hustle players were in double figures for the game, including a game-high 20 points from Sam Merrill. 

“He’s a guy who can really shoot the ball,” Hustle coach Jason March said after the game. “I was telling him to keep shooting, ‘You got open looks, take them.’ It was great to see him get going a little bit.”

Merrill, a player on assignment from the Milwaukee Bucks to the Hustle and who played collegiately at Utah State, only scored five points in Wednesday’s season opening loss to the Austin Spurs.  

The Hustle trailed 20-13 after one quarter but went on a 26-10 run in the second quarter for a 49-40 lead. 

“I was very happy with the way we moved the ball a little bit better,” March said. “I don’t think we started out great again today, but we got going and our energy fueled it.”

Rookie center Freddie Gillespie of the Hustle scored 12 of his 18 points for the game in the second quarter and led 64-57 at halftime.

Gillespie, a former Baylor Bear, went undrafted in the 2020 NBA draft but played briefly with the Dallas Mavericks. He was selected as the number two pick by the Hustle in the G League draft in January. Gillespie added 10 rebounds and three blocks with his 18 points Thursday. 

In the second half, Memphis led by as much as 14 points at 84-70 with just over two minutes left before the quarter’s end, which ended with the Hustle on top 91-80.  Canton would never come any closer the remainder of the contest.  

Tyrell Terry also scored 18 points for Memphis in the victory, followed by Shaq Buchanan with 13 off the bench and Anthony Cowan Jr. with 12. Cowan was the 16th overall pick in the G League draft after a college career with Maryland.  

Antonio Blakeney led Canton with 19 points, six rebounds and four assists  

Memphis will now have a couple of days off before going back to the bubble to play the Lakeland Magic on Sunday, Feb. 14.  

Thursday’s box score is found on the Memphis Hustle website.

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