The Hustle has announced their final home mini-series ahead of the Showcase Cup with the first of two clashes against undefeated Rio Grande Valley Vipers. The Hustles enter the game 4-4 in the pre-Cup games as they struggled a bit with consistency to start the season. The Hustle were dominant on the road against Spurs, but were later beaten by the Magic a week later. With only 4 games to go before the Cup, the Hustles need a solid game against the Vipers to improve their place in the standings. The Hustle sent Jarrett Culver and Yves Pons through the Grizzlies to help them against the Vipers. Unfortunately for the Hustle, they would be without Matt Hurt and Darnell Cowart in the game.
Both attacks got things going early as the Hustle found themselves 12-8 halfway through the first quarter. Shaq Buchanan and Ahmad Caver tallied 5 points each to punctuate Hustle’s offense early on, while the Vipers got 6 points from Daishen Nix (27% from deep) who had two triples in the opening minutes. The Hustle couldn’t pull away, however, but they managed to hold onto their lead late in the first quarter as they led 26-22.
The Vipers opened the second quarter on a 5-0 streak to take their first lead of the game. The Hustles were able to respond to the Vipers’ quick departure to regain the lead, but couldn’t create much separation with the Vipers. The Vipers came back to tie the game a few times, but there wasn’t much they could do after they tied the game. The Hustle got hot in the dying minutes of the quarter and continued an 11-0 run to take a 53-42 lead into the half-time break.
The Vipers’ offense flared up to start the second half, scoring 3 triples on their first 3 possessions. The Hustle offense was able to keep up with the Vipers offense in the opening minutes of the 3rd, but the Vipers turned the turnovers into points and managed to reduce Hustle’s lead to 1 midway through the 3rd thanks to a 17. -7. Course. Jarrett Culver dominated in the 3rd quarter, scoring 16 points, including 8 consecutive Hustle points to help them keep their lead in the quarter-break. After allowing the Vipers to come back and tie the game, the Hustles were able to extend their lead to 5 at the end of the quarter.
Hustle’s defense stifled the Vipers’ offense in the opening minutes of the 4th as they entered the quarter on a 6-0 streak to extend their lead to double digits. The Hustle didn’t quite manage to pull away from the Vipers, but managed to maintain a sizable lead midway through 4th. Hustle’s offense started midway through the 4th and took a 20-point lead with 5 minutes remaining. The Hustle were able to build on that lead and ended the game with a final score of 116-92. It was a dominant effort from the Hustle defense that held one of the best offensive teams in the league to just 92 points.
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