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Motor City Falls in Regular Season Finale

Motor City Cruise

The Motor City Cruise came into the regular season finale with a lot on the line Friday night. Looking to win their sixth in a row, Motor City was also looking to keep their playoff hopes alive with a win over the Cleveland Charge.

Settling in for a Slugfest

With a lot on the line for both teams, this one started as expected in what was a tight first half battle. Cleveland got off to a quick 5-0 start to grab some momentum early, but the Cruise would settle things down to trail just 8-11 with 7:47 to play in the opening quarter. The Cruise were going to have to find a way to limit Dylan Windler as he got off to a scorching start for the Charge.

A 7-0 run over the course of the next couple of minutes was big for Cleveland as they were able to build their lead to 18-10. As we’ve seen all season, though, Motor City keeps battling, and that they did. They cut into the Charge lead to trail just 28-33 after one.

Sam Merrill and Dylan Windler were a problem in the first quarter as they did most of the damage, with both going for 11 points apiece. The Motor City offense finally got going led by a balanced attack that kept that right in the ballgame.

Cleveland would strike first in the second quarter as they put together a 17-12 run to open the quarter. That built the Charge lead to 40-50 as Motor City looked to slow the tempo and hot shooting of Cleveland.

The Cruise were able to cut into the lead as they finally started to get some stops on defense. With just over three minutes to play in the half, they trailed 48-54. Then came a three-point barrage, one that was beneficial to Motor City. It propelled them into a 61-59 lead heading into the half.

Both David Nwaba and Reggie Perry helped the Cruise grab the lead as they both finished with 8 points apiece in the quarter.

Limited in the Second Half

Things started out as a feeling process to open the half as Motor City held a 70-67 lead midway through the quarter. Cleveland grabbed the first big run of the half as they regained the lead. After a 7-2 run, it was Cleveland 74-72.

The Cruise weren’t about to go away, as we’ve seen repeatedly. With their backs against the wall, they stayed right in the game, trailing 85-88 heading to the final quarter.

Isaiah Mobley finished with 9 points in the quarter for the Charge. Sharife Cooper was big in the final minutes to add 8. Reggie Perry found some easy looks inside to lead Motor City in the quarter with 8.

Backs against the wall to start the fourth, Motor City would get hot from deep. They regained the lead after a big Jaylen Johnson three-pointer just minutes into the quarter.

With a tie 94-94 game, Keifer Sykes hit down a step-back jumped to give the Cruise the lad right back. With 5:50 remaining, Motor City clung to a 98-97 lead after Cleveland cut it back to a one-possession game.

A 6-0 Charge run had the Cruise looking at a five-point hole with the clock ticking. Isaiah Mobley led the charge to give Cleveland a big spark of momentum. Motor City hit a bit of a cold spell offensively as they saw themselves looking up at a 98-105 deficit with just 2:57 left to play.

Sometimes you keep fighting in this sport, and that’s exactly what the Cruise did. Suddenly some shots began to fall, and Motor City had the lead down to four. Limiting the Charge on offense was key, and it propelled the next Cruise possession. Reggie Perry found himself with a monumental shot, and he did nothing but knock it down to cut the Cleveland lead to 105-104 with still 1:03 to play.

Sam Merrill was a thorn in the side of the Cruise for a lot of the night, he struck on a 25-foot three-pointer to put the lead back to four. Reggie Perry got free on a layup to put it back at 106-108 with thirty-three seconds left in the game.

Then, it was Merrill again to put an absolute dagger in the hearts of Motor City. The Cruise had a chance to extend the game, but after Kyler Edwards missed a three, that would all but do it. Motor City falls in the finale in a gut-wrencher, 106-113.

The Numbers

Cleveland had a potent offensive attack tonight that was tough to stop at times for the Cruise. Isaiah Mobley led the way for them with 29 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists. Sam Merrill was at it all night for the Charge as he got loose for 27 points (6 three-pointers), 5 rebounds and 2 steals. Dylan Windler had a big game with 26 points (5 three-pointers) and 9 rebounds.

Sharife Cooper struggled with his shot but added 16 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists. Nate Hinton added 8 points and 10 rebounds. Justin James finished with 5 points in limited minutes off the Charge bench.

Reggie Perry led the way for Motor City with 27 points (3 three-pointers) and 5 rebounds. Kyler Edwards had a big game off the Cruise bench with 17 points (4 three-pointers). David Nwaba had another sensational effort to finish with 16 points (7-12 shooting), 15 rebounds and 5 assists.

Keifer Sykes pitched in 13 points and dished out 13 assists. Buddy Boeheim poured in 10 points (3 three-pointers). Jaylen Johnson was able to provide a spark at times to contribute 7 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks. ShawnDre Jones finished with 7 points off the bench.

Up Next

The Cleveland Charge will clinch a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with the win. They have now won four games in a row and can be a scary team in the playoffs if they continue to get the production like they had tonight. This was their regular season finale as well as they finish at 18-14 and await the playoffs.

With the loss, the season will come to an end for Motor City. They finish the season at 17-15 and played some of their best ball of the season when it mattered down the stretch. For a team that dealt with multiple roster moves throughout the year, and injuries, it’s a team that really came together and gelled enough to put themselves in a position to get in the playoffs. It was yet another successful season for the Cruise in just their second season.

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