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In Battle of the ‘Burbs, Long Island defeats Westchester with second half barrage

After two straight losses over the weekend to the Windy City Bulls, the Long Island Nets came roaring back Tuesday, defeating the Westchester Knicks, 99-75, at Nassau Coliseum. The Nets capitalized on a second half barrage and a 27-point explosion by Jeremy Senglin, one of the G-League’s top bench performers.

Down five at the half to the team with the G-League’s best record, Long Island out scored Westchester, 64-31, including a 36-17 sendoff in the fourth.

“We didn’t change the scheme, we just did it much better the second half,” Long Island coach Ronald Nored told Tom Dowd of the Nets official site. “Our pick and roll defense was better, guys were more locked in. We didn’t communicate well in the first half, the second half we communicated. Guys knew they were going to be in certain spots. We were really, really connected defensively.”

The young Nets defense had fallen down in their two losses to Windy City but returned vs. Westchester. Long Island appears headed for their first trip to the G-League playoffs which begin at the end of the month.

For the Senglin, the 27 points off the bench were nothing new. In the past two months, the 6’2” shooting guard from Weber State has had games of 40, 29, 28 and 27, all coming off the bench.

Also helping out were Milton Doyle, who finished with 18, and Kendall Gray, a 6’10” forward, who supplied tight defense.

“It’s been Kendall (Gray) and Jeremy in the last couple games,” said Nored. “Their energy, their effort, their fight, their hunger, their nastiness, all that together has fueled our team. Once we did that, we got stops. It’s funny what playing hard does for you. We started making all kinds of shots. We made everything. And when we weren’t playing hard, nothing could fall.”

Senglin finished 11-of-23, including 3-of-9 from deep. He also had five assists and five steals, playing 37 minutes. Doyle played 40, shot 6-of-14 and 4-of-7, adding eight rebounds and five assists.

The Nets were down 48-39 midway through the third quarter when Doyle and Senglin took over, fueling a 17-0 run. First, he slashed to the rim for a basket, then his two-way partner James Webb III came up with a steal and a layup. Senglin’s 3-pointer brought Long Island within 53-50 and two JJ Moore free throws finally tied the game at 58. Senglin stole the ball, laid it up. Nets 60, Knicks 58. It was their first lead since the first quarter.

Finally, Doyle defended a transition opportunity, scooped up the loose rebound and hurled in a 60-footer at the third quarter buzzer for a 63-58 lead.

That was all the momentum Long Island needed.

“That opened it up for him a little bit,” Nored told Tom Dowd. “I think it takes the pressure of Milton a little bit if we’re defending the way we are, because then it just turns into easy shots on the other end. When we’re struggling to score and we’re not defending well, Milton feels like he has to press to get us one. And that’s one us, that’s not on him. That’s on us. He’s doing what he’s supposed to be doing. But when we play hard, he gets easy shots.”

For the season, Senglin is averaging 14.4 points and shooting 35.4 percent from deep in his bench role.

The two teams play again Thursday at the Westchester County Center starting at 7 p.m.