Figueroa’s shot at the end completed a Santa Cruz comeback

LJ Figueroa’s float in the lane when time expired gave the Santa Cruz Warriors a 132-130 overtime victory over the Memphis Hustle on Monday night at the Landers Center.

Figueroa, a Golden State affiliate, managed a limit shot with 2.1 seconds left in the NBA G League two minutes of overtime. It culminated with a 17-point effort for former Oregon Duck and helped the Warriors recover from a 66-53 lead at Memphis at halftime.

Hustle goalie David Stockton, son of NBA Hall of Fame great John Stockton, peaked 31 points to lead Memphis in the scoring and was one of six Hustle players to hit double digits. Twenty of Stockton’s 31 points came in the first half.

David Stockton passes a Santa Cruz defender in Monday’s game.
(Bob Bakken / DeSoto County Sports)

“He plays hard and gives you everything he has every time he’s on the pitch,” coach Jason March said of Stockton.

Memphis also got an offensive production from Cameron Young, a second-year professional from Quinnipiac, who finished with 22 points. South Dakota rookie Tyler Hagedorn finished with 20 points, Reggie Hearn scored 17, followed by Tyrell Terry with 12 and Shaq Buchanan with 10. Buchanan, returning to Hustle after an NBA call-up to parent Memphis Grizzlies, took place back just 12 minutes played in the contest.

The Hustle performed with a fuller roster, with more body compared to Showcase Cup nights where the bench was very thin.

“We have played four games this season (Showcase Cup) with seven players,” said March. “All the credit to our guys who gave their efforts and stayed together. It was very nice to have guys in swimsuits, for sure.

Memphis received three new additions to the roster in Terry, Josh Nzeakor and Devin Whitfield. Terry is a two-way player from Stanford, Whitfield is a rookie in the Lincoln Memorial University squad and Nzeakor is also in the squad with two years of professional experience and played collegially at Lamar.

Moses Moody, a Golden State award winner, led all scorers with 37 points in the victory. Quinndary Witherspoon, a former Mississippi State Bulldog, contributed 34 points for Santa Cruz, followed by Figueroa with 17, Jonathan Kuminga with 11 and Jordan Bell with 10.

Memphis opened up a four-point lead after a quarter and opened the game in the second quarter for the 13-point advantage in the locker room. Stockton’s 20 points in the first half included 4 of 5 three-pointers. He was the only Hustle player to hit double digits in the first half.

Witherspoon also scored 20 points in the first half and got help from Moody, who scored 16 of his 37 points before half time.

Santa Cruz walked out of the locker room during intermission and reduced Memphis’ lead to 92-88 at the end of the third quarter, a period highlighted by Terry’s 65-by-three-foot lift that came in just on the end of the shift.

The Hustle continued to fend off the Warriors in the fourth quarter until Santa Cruz finally tied the score at 106 with about six minutes left in regulation. It was part of a 10-point Warriors run that ended with Santa Cruz in the lead 111-106 before Memphis finally returned to the scoreboard.

Memphis could have won the game in regulation with a 126-123 lead and two seconds left, but a foul on a three-point shot sent Witherspoon to the free throw line, where his three charity throws tied the match and sent him to overtime.

Shaq Buchanan returned to the Hustle lineup after an NBA call-in and scored 10 points in just 12 minutes of action. (Bob Bakken / DeSoto County Sports)

This set up the extension and the heroism of Figueroa at the end.

Monday’s game marked the start of the shortened regular season for Hustle, as previous games were part of the NBA G League Showcase Cup. Two games originally scheduled before Monday’s competition have been postponed by the NBA due to COVID-19 issues, but have been rescheduled.

The Hustles are now on the road for six games, starting Thursday in Des Moines, Iowa against the Iowa Wolves.

ACTIVITY NOTES: Memphis finished the night with 22 three-pointers, one short of the team’s record for three-pointers in a game… Memphis held Santa Cruz to 22 percent of three-pointers in the first half , but the Warriors shot 55% from the ground and 44% from the arc in the second half… Santa Cruz outscored Memphis 66-34 for points in the paint… Memphis at some point in the game had a 16-point lead. The Warriors scored 79 points in the second half and overtime.

Memphis Hustle box score