While Noah Clowney, Jalen Wilson and Keon Johnson sat on the bench at Barclays Center and Dariq Whitehead rehabbing his shin splints, the Long Island Nets were down to nine points Thursday night at Nassau Coliseum.
No problem. A collection of G League vets and rookies took revenge on the Motor City Cruise after a one-point loss Tuesday, beating the Detroit Pistons affiliate, 117-114. They are now 8-5 in the regular season and 17-12 including the G League Showcase, a half game out of first in the Eastern Conference.
Kyler Edwards, Long Island’s 6’4” shooting guard, picked up the scoring slack for his missing teammates and more, finishing with 38 points in 36 minutes and hitting the winning shot, one of his four 3-pointers, with three and a half seconds left in the game.
The 24-year-old who played for Motor City last season, was aggressive all night, shooting 11-of-18 overall, 4-of-9 from three and 8-of-8 from the line...
While the Nets two-ways and rookies have (rightfully) gotten much of the attention this season, Edwards has quietly put up solid numbers. He’s currently averaging 12.1 points a game overall and 15.3 in the regular season.
Although Edwards was the big reason Long Island won, he was one of five Long Islanders to break double figures. Kaiser Gates who’s played for the Nets and Celtics G-League entries, scored 15, all on 3-pointers, to go with nine boards and two assists. Trey McGowens had 12 points off the bench and two players, Long Island native Patrick Gardner and New Jersey native Jordan Hall each had 10 points. Hall, who finished one rebound and one assist from a triple double two nights ago, also had six assists and four rebounds.
The big revelation of the night, other than Edwards was the defensive work of 6’11” big David Muoka. A native of Hong Kong (where Joe and Clara Wu Tsai maintain a residence) and a product of UNLV, the 23-year-old filled in for Clowney, garnering 15 rebounds, six of them offensive, as well as blocking SEVEN shots. Muoka finished with eight points.
David Muoka puts one in for 2!!!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/R857UhjUqS— Long Island Nets (@LongIslandNets) January 26, 2024
Long Island struggled to find its footing in the first quarter, as the Cruise went on a 7-0 run in the first three minutes of the period. Motor City closed the quarter ahead by nine, 31-22. The Nets turned up the heat in the second quarter, outscoring the Cruise 41-24 on 60.9 percent shooting from the field and 60.0 percent shooting from behind the arc. Long Island turned the tides and closed the first half ahead by eight, 63-55.
Motor City looked to battle back in the third quarter, outscoring the Nets 37-30 in the period. Despite the Cruise’s efforts, Long Island kept its lead and closed the quarter ahead by one, 93-92. Long Island and Motor City went back-and-forth in the final period, tying the match three times until a big 3-point shot by Nets guard Kyler Edwards broke the tie. The Nets went on to defeat the Cruise by three, 117-114.
Motor City forward Buddy Boeheim tallied 29 points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block in 36 minutes. Cruise forward Tosan Evbuomwan and Pistons two-way guard Jared Rhoden tallied 22 points each in 42 and 40 minutes, respectively.
Long Island will travel to face Capital City Go-Go, the Washington Wizards affiliate, on Saturday, at 7:00 p.m. ET.