With one two-way, Jalen Wilson, and one first round draft pick, Noah Clowney, in Brooklyn and another rotation player, Patrick Gardner, practicing with the Egyptian national team in Cairo, the Long Island Nets were again undermanned Saturday and lost a close one to the Greensboro Swarm, the Charlotte Hornets G League affiliate.
Final score: Greensboro 102, Long Island 96.
It was Long Island’s second straight loss to Greensboro and dropped Long Island to 9-9 in the G League’s regular season standings.
Five Nets players finished in double figures, 6’5” combo guard Keon Johnson, the Nets other two-way, had 22 points once again coming off the bench; shooting guard Trey McGowens chipped in with 16 points as did wing Davion Warren. Kaiser Gates (12 points) and Kyler Edwards (11 points) also finished in double figures.
The final game of the weekend series between Greensboro and Long Island started off as a defensive battle. Midway through the first quarter, the Swarm held a 10-5 lead. However, Johnson provided an offensive boost for the visitors off of the bench and helped secure a 19-17 Long Island lead to close the period.
The pace of the game picked up in the second as both sides began to find their grooves offensively. Jaylen Sims carried the torch for Greensboro with 10 points and five rebounds in the first half. For Long Island, Johnson led all scorers in the first half with 17 points and was 6-of-10 from the field.
Entering halftime, the Swarm and Nets were squared at 46-46. Greensboro was dialed in to start the second half and opened the third with a blazing 15-2 run. Swarm big man Jeremiah Tilmon commanded the paint and picked up six points in the frame. Forward R.J. Hunter notched six points himself to help earn a 75-62 advantage to close the third. The fourth quarter saw Greensboro extend its lead to 15 points. However, an offensive charge led by McGowens saw Long Island close the gap to nine points with just over six minutes remaining in the contest.
Within breathing distance of the top spot, the Nets continued their run and eventually brought the lead down to a mere three points off a Johnson layup with just a minute and a half remaining. The Long Island run came to a halt when Marcus Garrett answered on the other end with clutch buckets on back-to-back possessions to thwart the Nets’ comeback.
Led by Sims, who picked up his third double-double of the season with a team-high 17 points and 11 rebounds, seven Swarm players ended the night in double digits. Terrell Brown Jr., Garrett, Tilmon and Walker all recorded 14 points each in the victory while Angelo Allegri and Kent Bazemore had 10 points apiece respectively.
Long Island will return home to Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday to battle the Delaware Blue Coats. Start time is 7:00 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on ESPN+ and the YES App and broadcast on radio at WRHU, 88.7 FM.