Cruise Battle, Come up Short
Motor City comes in on the winning side of things as they look to see if they can build some momentum in March. They head into Long Island for a morning battle during Education Day at the home of the Nets, Nassau Coliseum.
Defense Carries Over
The Cruise would find themselves down 5-8 several minutes into the quarter. Despite struggling to score, the defense of Motor City carried over from their previous game as they set the tone early in this one. That was the theme of the quarter as both teams continued their solid defensive play. The Cruise trailed, but were right in it at 19-21. Stanley Umude led Motor City early with 7 points.
This was a tight battle throughout much of the first half as the Nets clung to just a 28-30 with 6:50 to play before the half. Motor City wasn’t letting this one get away easily. They would trail 34-40 late in the second before heading to the locker room down by just one possession. It was Long Island, 46-43, after one. Dru Smith (9 points) and Jordan Bowden (8 points) were big in the quarter.
Tale of Two Quarters
An 11-4 run to open the third for the Cruise gave them a 58-54 lead midway through the quarter. Keifer Sykes was a man on a mission coming out of the half as he led the run for Motor City. The Nets would take the lead right back when they put together an 8-2 run of their own. Long Island would really carry the momentum as they took a 74-65 lead into the final quarter. David Duke led their spark with 8 points in the quarter. Sykes finished with 11 for the Cruise.
The bleeding wouldn’t stop as the Nets upped their lead to 82-67 just minutes into the fourth. Long Island would build that lead to 108-90 with just a few minutes to play. That was all they needed as the Nets had it on cruise control the rest of the way. Motor City falls, 102-114.
David Dukes Jr. was at it again against the Cruise. He led the Nets with 29 points, 8-13 from the field and 5 assists. Jordan Bowden was big with 20 points,8-11 from the field and 5 rebounds. Dru Smith had a big night off the Long Island bench with 19 points and 8 assists.
RaiQuan Gray added 14 points (7-12 from the field) and 9 rebounds. Kavion Pippen pitched in a double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds). Alondes Williams had 11 points and 6 rebounds.
Stanley Umude had another good outing to lead Motor City with 23 points and 9 rebounds. Jaylen Johnson added 14 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals. Keifer Sykes helped with 13 points and 5 assists.
Newcomer Reggie Perry pitched in 13 points and 6 rebounds. David Nwaba was back tonight and finished with 12 points and 9 rebounds. ShawnDre had 9 points and 5 assists off the Cruise bench.
With the win, Long Island has now won 15 games in a row. They were able to clinch the first playoff spot this year. They have been in control for the past two months of the season. They’ll head to Maine for a showdown on Thursday. That game is slated for a 7:00 start.
This will be a tough one to swallow for the Cruise as they had every chance to take a game from one of the league’s best teams. The Cruise dropped to 12-14 with the loss. Still in playoff contention, Motor City will look to bounce back against the Mad Ants. Fort Wayne heads into that one on a three-game losing streak in what will be a big game as the Mad Ants only sit 1.5 games in front of Motor City.