DETROIT, MI – The Motor City Cruise picked up a hard fought win versus the Cleveland Charge 111-100 in an entertaining game.

The Cruise finished November 6-2 which helped head coach Jamelle McMillan earn G-League coach of the month honors. With a recharged roster they started the season with goals of making the playoffs, despite some of their better players splitting time with the Pistons as well. One of those players is sharp shooter Stanley Umude who knocked down 6 of 10 threes to help lead the Cruise. Umude led the team in scoring with twenty three points before fouling out mid way through the fourth quarter.

”The main thing for us is competing every single possession and are we getting tougher on defense,” coach McMillan said. “Our guys kept sharing the ball on offense, and got tighter on defense which got us through that last eight minutes of the game.

And they needed the firepower as they welcomed the Charge who sport a familiar face in Ypsilanti, MI native Emoni Bates. Bates found ways to score in a variety of ways from behind the arc, mid range and in the paint. He put up thirty-two points, four rebounds, and knocked down 5 of 13 threes.

Identity: Toughness

Although Bates scored a lot, the Cruise defense forced him into an eleven for twenty five night shooting.

“We have to dictate how the game goes with our energy and toughness,” Umude said after the game.

But the Cruise had answers all night from players with NBA experience in Zavier Simpson, Jontay Porter (21 points), and Buddy Boeheim (14 points).

Simpson had an impressive all around performance scoring twenty points, six rebounds and six assists. The former Michigan Wolverine stepped up the scoring once Umude fouled out hitting several big shots down the stretch.

”I want to be the closer for this team,” Simpson said. “Obviously we’re the Motor City Cruise but also under the Detroit Pistons organization, we want to be tough.”

“We want to bring that every single game and not let anyone out tough us.

This season the Cruise are showing great improvement and cohesiveness under coach McMillan. But he credits his players and staff for the turnaround over a season ago. On this night it was Simpson who stepped up big, as he has in other games as a leader. It’s noticeable the team looks to Simpson to take charge when necessary.

“He (Simpson) settled us and I was really proud of his fight,” coach McMillan said. “His competitive juice allowed us to get through that fourth quarter.”

Other Notes

– Several Detroit Pistons, Cade Cunningham, Jalen Duren and Kevin Knox, showed up to support the Motor City Cruise take on Emoni Bates and the Cleveland Charge. Duren might have had split rooting interest as a former teammate of Bates when they played together at Memphis University.

– Motor City Cruise and former Michigan Wolverine Zavier Simpson on the college football playoff matchup between Michigan and Alabama:

“C’mon Michigan! We’re going to win it this year. Y’all know that. Go Blue!”


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By Published On: December 6th, 2023Categories: Detroit Pistons, NBA, Podcasts

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