Photo: Hustle’s GG Jackson (right) is guarded by Austin’s Dominick Barlow during the Spurs’ 120-101 victory. (Bob Bakken/desotocountynews.com)
The Memphis Hustle returned home to take on the Austin Spurs in an NBA G League Showcase Cup contest Tuesday night at the Landers Center in Southaven. The Spurs ran away with the game in the second half to a 29-point victory, 130-101. Memphis dropped to 3-6 with the loss, while Austin improved to 3-4 with the win.
Here’s a recap of the night’s Showcase Cup contest.
FIRST QUARTER: HUSTLE 29, AUSTIN SPURS 27
A Timmy Allen jumper with 11 seconds left rallied the Hustle from behind to a two-point lead at the end of the quarter. Loudon Love led the scoring for the Hustle with 10 points, while Dominick Barlow, the G League’s leading scorer at 28.6 points per game entering Tuesday’s contest, had eight for the Spurs. There were two lead changes and five ties in the period, with the Spurs holding the largest lead in the quarter at six points.
HALFTIME: AUSTIN SPURS, 57, HUSTLE 53
The Spurs took a four-point lead into the locker room at the break with Barlow leading two Spurs in double figures with 14 points, followed by Erik Stevenson with 11. The Hustle were paced by GG Jackson’s 14 points and Love with 11. The Spurs outscored the Hustle 30-24 in a back-and-forth quarter that saw the lead change hands 16 times and there were 11 ties. The Hustle struggled in long-range shooting, hitting 11.8 percent of three-point shots (2 of 17).
THIRD QUARTER: AUSTIN SPURS 85, HUSTLE 77
Austin held as much as a 12-point lead in the quarter at 77-65, before the Hustle got within six at 79-73 Spurs. The Hustle continued struggling from the three-point line, hitting just 22 percent from beyond the arc for the game (6 of 27). GG Jackson led all scorers with 20 points for the Hustle, one of four Memphis players in double figures. Three Spurs each had 16 points through three quarters of play.
FOURTH QUARTER: AUSTIN SPURS 130, HUSTLE 101
Austin held a 99-85 lead with 8:40 left in the game and extended that with a basket to 101-85 shortly after that. The Spurs outscored the Hustle 45-24 in the final 12 minutes of the contest and outscored the Hustle 73-48 in the second half.
For the game, Dominick Barlow of Austin led all scorers with 28 points, while the Hustle were led by GG Jackson with 24. Five Spurs scored in double figures with three hitting for 20 points or more. Seven Memphis players were in double figures but no one scored more than 14 points after Jackson.
POST-GAME COMMENTS FROM HUSTLE COACH JASON MARCH
I didn’t think it was a great first half for us. We gave up 27 points in the first quarter and we didn’t execute. They got out and ran right at us and they were getting offensive rebounds, getting rebounds on 43 percent of their misses. And then, we gave up 45 points in the fourth quarter. It was an embarrassing effort, embarrassing on our home floor, embarrassing all the way around.
MARCH ON SECOND-HALF STRUGGLES
We were really struggling making shots. We were 9-of-38 from three (point range). We had some great looks, but when you’re missing shots you normally make and they’re wide open, you kind of hang your head. Anytime we would hang our heads, they were gone and at us. We didn’t execute the game plan.
MARCH ON GG JACKSON ABLE TO PROVIDE OFFENSE
I thought GG played pretty well, offensively and defensively. His length was very beneficial to us. He’s able to move his feet well. He came out of the gate great with a great attitude. I was proud of him, he definitely is starting to take another step now where he was scoring the first 6-7 games as well, but now it’s on both ends of the floor. He’s starting to accept the challenge of guarding the leading scorer in the G League (Barlow) and that’s who he was guarding tonight and he did a really good job.
Both teams entered the contest two games behind first-place Birmingham and Rio Grande Valley in the South pod of the Showcase Cup. The winner of each of four pods, followed by the next four teams across the league with the best records enter the Showcase Cup Playoffs. Matt Hurt remained out of the line with a broken left hand. Adonis Arms was in the line up but was listed as questionable with back spasms. Austin and the Hustle meet at the Landers Center again Dec. 15. They play two more times during the regular season, both times in Texas. Austin coach Will Voight is in his first year with the franchise, coming to Texas from Zamalek of the Egyptian Basketball Super League. A first in the NBA G League took place Nov. 4 when Austin played the Texas Legends at Paul Quinn College in Dallas, the first time a G League game was played at a HBCU college campus. Austin will play three home games away from the H-E-B Center home, on Feb. 1-2 against Stockton in Laredo, and March 10 in Corpus Christi against the Windy City Bulls. The Hustle now face a two-game road trip before returning home to face the Texas Legends on Dec. 7.