Photo: Loudon Love of the Memphis Hustle shoots over Rob Spencer of Santa Cruz during their game Monday, Jan. 29 at the Landers Center. (Bob Bakken/desotocountynews.com)
Saturday night, the Memphis Hustle had the ball at half-court needing just a basket to tie the game with the Santa Cruz Warriors, but a last-second deep three try from Matt Hurt bounced off for a 126-124 loss to Santa Cruz.
After coming back from behind to take the lead in the second half, the Hustle had the ball again with a timeout at 1.8 seconds and a chance to win the game, trailing just 121-120 to the Warriors, and Hurt having just been called up to the beleaguered Grizzlies just hours before the game started.
However, Cameron McGriff was the number one option this time and his slam off the long lob of Adonis Arms fell true through the hoop for the Hustle to take the lead with 1.1 seconds left.
A last-second try from Rob Spencer fell off at the buzzer and the Hustle had stopped the Warriors winning streak with a 122-121 victory and a split of the weekend with the Western Conference rivals.
Hustle said after the game the play went through exactly as planned.
“It was for Cam (McGriff) to get a lob and Adonis (Arms) put that thing perfectly,” March said. “We did have a second option if it didn’t if he wasn’t open, but that was the look.”
McGriff finished with a team-high 30 points in the victory, the Hustle’s sixth of the regular season (6-7). Santa Cruz fell to 7-6 with the loss, the Warriors’ first after six straight wins.
“Coach called a great play and Adonis made a heck of a pass,” McGriff said. “And, you know, he just made it easy for me to flush it at the end and no better way to finish that game for sure.”
The Hustle lineup was another player short Monday night. That’s because Matt Hurt, among the NBA G League’s scoring leaders, was called up and in a Memphis Grizzlies uniform and scored 10 points in the Grizzlies’ 103-94 loss to Sacramento.
“I probably found out about it about the same time you did, late this afternoon,” March said. “I am so proud of that young man. He’s completely professional every single day. He’ll do whatever he’s asked to do, and he just works.“
Memphis trailed by six after one quarter at 38-32 but cut the lead to 65-63 Santa Cruz at halftime.
In the second half, Memphis started its comeback and took its first lead of the game at 79-78 with 6:12 left in the third quarter and had a 10-point lead with 10 minutes left in the game at 102-92. The Warriors quickly cut the lead to five at 104-99 with nine minutes remaining and midway through the final quarter the Hustle were clinging to a 109-107 advantage.
When Williams made both free throws for Santa Cruz with 1.8 seconds left, the Hustle called time out for what would be the winning basket and had the choice to inbound at half court, which they took. That set up the McGriff heroics for the win.
Now, the Hustle await the NBA G League Ignite, which will be in town for a two-game series Saturday night and Sunday late afternoon at the Landers Center. The Hustle have been playing with seven-and-eight man rosters in recent games and March is hoping some healthy bodies will be on the floor Saturday.
“We need somebody so hopefully we have enough to play on Saturday and Sunday versus Ignite,” said March. “Either way we’ll figure it out. We always do so.”
In addition to McGriff’s 30 points, Lucas Williamson broke out and finished with a career-high 23 points and DeJon Jarreau added 22. Six of the seven Memphis players broke double figures.
Former Memphis Tiger Kendric Davis led the Warriors in the losing effort, scoring a game-high 31 points. Williams added 26 for Santa Cruz and Pat Spencer came off the bench to finish with 15.
DESOTO COUNTY SCOREBOARD
Monday, Jan. 29
Prep boys basketball
DeSoto Central 60, Hernando 43
Grenada 64, Lake Cormorant 56
Prep girls basketball
Hernando 59, DeSoto Central 50
Lake Cormorant at Grenada
NBA G League basketball
Memphis Hustle 122, Santa Cruz Warriors 121
JUCO men’s basketball
Holmes 79, Northwest 64
JUCO women’s basketball
Holmes 78, Northwest 53