The Elmcor recreational center in Corona was the site of the home debut of the New York City Internationalz. New York’s newest professional basketball team, the Internationalz took to the court to face the Jersey Express. Hoping to snap a three game losing streak, the Internationalz entertained the crowed but ultimately could not catch the Express, dropping both games of the weekend series.
Saturday, playing before a large, raucous crowd, the Internationalz battled early, rallying from a 7-2 deficit to take a 11-9 lead on a basket by Keith Smith with 3:04 remaining in the first quarter. However, the Express then answered with a 13-2 run to take a 22-13 lead at the close of the quarter.
The Express continued to exploit the Internationalz’ cold shooting, opening up a 36-21 advantage halfway through the second quarter. New York City’s Marvin McCullough converted a twisting layup with 3:28 left to pull the Internationalz within 8, but the Express clamped down from there, taking a 47-30 lead into the half.
Jersey pushed the lead to 72-46 after three quarters, but the Internationalz rallied in the fourth quarter, using a 25-9 run to pull within 10 points with 3:08 remaining. However, the deficit proved to be too high, as Jersey held on for a 90-77 victory.
After the game, coach Michael Logan didn’t sugarcoat his team’s performance. “We had to get down by 20 points before they woke up.” However, Logan pointed to the team’s fourth quarter run as reason for optimism.
Sunday proved to be a different game, as New York City came out the gate fast, but the Express fought back to take a 38-32 lead with 5:27 remaining in the second quarter. However, the Internationalz responded with a 15-2 run, punctuated by McCullough’s crossover layup with 32 seconds remaining. The Internationalz took a 47-43 lead into the locker room.
The game remained close heading into the fourth quarter, as New York City held a 76-74 lead with 9:33 remaining. However, New York City went cold from the field, and Jersey capitalized, taking an 84-78 lead with 5:52 left to play. A McCullough jumper pulled the Internationalz within five with 4:17 to go, but the Express hit their free throws down the stretch and held on for a 99-88 victory. The losses drop New York City to 1-5 on their inaugural season.
The Internationalz will return to action on Saturday, January 31 when they travel to Jersey to take on the Express. The team will return to New York City on February 1. All remaining home games will be played at Baruch college in Manhattan.