Photo: GG Jackson II is helped off the floor after making a play ib the first half of Sunday’s contest against Mexico City. (Bob Bakken/desotocountynews.com)
The Memphis Hustle (2-4) stopped a four-game losing streak Sunday afternoon, defeating the Mexico City Capitanes (1-3) 105-101 during the team’s first Hustle and Hounds Game at the Landers Center. The same teams complete a back-to-back series as the Showcase Cup schedule of games continues Monday night at the Landers Center. Tip-off time for the contest is 7 p.m. Following is a recap of the Sunday Hustle victory.
FIRST QUARTER: HUSTLE 27, MEXICO CITY 27
David Johnson leads Memphis with 11 points off the bench. The Hustle had a five-point lead in the back-and-forth quarter and the Capitanes held a two-point lead. Mexico City was led by Trey Burke with eight points.
HALFTIME: MEXICO CITY 52, HUSTLE 51
The Capitanes take the lead with just under one second left in the half for the one-point advantage at halftime. A nice first half for David Johnson off the bench for Memphis with 19 points, including 4-of-7 from behind the arc. GG Jackson is the other Hustle in double figures with 13. Mexico City was paced by MIchael Carter-Williams with 13 and Trey Burke with 12. There were 10 lead changes in the first half and the game was tied five times. Memphis had the largest lead of the half at seven.
THIRD QUARTER: HUSTLE 78, MEXICO CITY 73
David Johnson was held scoreless in the quarter but still led the Hustle with 19 points. GG Jackson was close behind with 18 and Cameron McGriff had 15. Mexico City was led by Trey Burke with 19 and Michael Carter-Williams with 17. Ethan Thompson appeared among the leaders and had 15 points through three quarters for the Capitanes.
Nate Pierre-Louis of the Capitanes took a hard fall during the quarter and had to leave the game. Play was stopped as Pierre-Louis was attended to, then placed on a stretcher and wheeled from the arena. Early indications were that he fell trying to get a rebound and possibly struck his head, but there was no official word after the game on his condition.
FOURTH QUARTER: HUSTLE 105, MEXICO CITY 101
David Johnson’s two free throws with 53 seconds left gave Memphis a 103-101 lead and GG Jackson added two more free throws with 11.3 seconds left to seal the win. Jackson finished with 25 points and Cameron McGriff scored 22. After scoring 19 points in the first half, David Johnson was held to just two points in the second half for a total of 21. Game high honors went to Trey Burke of Mexico City, scoring 29 points. Michael Carter-Williams added 20.
There were 11 lead changes and 13 ties in the contest.
POST-GAME COMMENTS FROM HUSTLE COACH JASON MARCH
ON ENDING FOUR-GAME LOSING STREAK: It’s huge for our team. We’ve been playing pretty well, honestly. We let one get away from us with a guy making an almost half-court shot to win one in Oklahoma City and then we let a huge lead get away from us in Orlando (Osceola Magic). We’ve played well but we haven’t finished well, so that was a focus going into tonight, defensive effort and execution offensively.
ON DAVID JOHNSON SCORING 19 POINTS IN FIRST HALF: David is a heck of a player and he contributes every night with us. I need to find a way to give him more minutes. Our bench in general played really well tonight and gave us a good lift offensively and defensively. I’m very proud of that group.
ON THE CLOSENESS OF THE GAME THROUGHOUT THE CONTEST: That’s a good basketball team (Mexico City). You have NBA players over there who played significant minutes in the NBA. It’s a very good basketball team and a well-coached basketball team. After the long road trip, I felt like we came out a little lackadaisical. It was a long trip, a long flight yesterday, but we stuck with it, so I give credit to our guys. We went through so much adversity on the road trip and very easily could have packed it in tonight and used the excuse of a long road trip. But, we have a great locker room and we’ll continue to get better and we have a lot of work to do. This is a completely new team, especially with Matt Hurt being out, other than Adonis (Arms). We’re trying to find that chemistry and usually when you find that chemistry you find execution and that’s how you win basketball games.
ON MATT HURT (OUT WITH A BROKEN LEFT HAND): It’s a huge loss for us. If it was up to Matt, he would have played today. I really don’t have a timetable, but I know he’s going to be ready to go quickly if it’s up to him. But, we’re going to try to be smart because he’s so important to us and we gotta have him. We’ll try to pull the reins back and hit the brakes and we’ll get him back when he’s fully healthy.
NOTES: Mexico City plays a full NBA G League schedule but has no NBA affiliation. The Capitanes consist of former NBA players and players from Latin American countries, such as Brazil, Puerto Rico, and Trinidad & Tobago. Four Americans are on the Capitanes roster. Among the assistant coaches on the Mexico City roster is Derrick Allen, who signed with Ole Miss in 2000 and played for the Rebels. He went on to play internationally until the 2018-2019 season.
The win by the Hustle evened the overall series with the franchises to 4-4 and ended a two-game Mexico City winning streak. After Monday’s meeting, the teams will play a back-to-back series in Mexico City at the end of February.
Sunday was the first Hustle and Hounds Game, where fans could bring their favorite pooch with them to the game. Another Hustle and Hounds Game is planned for Feb. 3 when Memphis hosts the G League Ignite.