The Herd remain 14th

Ally Gwidt, Assistant sports editor

The Milwaukee Bucks’ G-League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd, went 1-2 last week against Eastern Conference opponents to advance the Herd to the 14th spot in the Eastern Conference and a 9-26 record overall.

The Herd fell to the Chicago Bulls’ G-League affiliate the Windy City Bulls 126-110 on Tuesday night despite Wisconsin forward Christian Wood tallying his 13th 30-point game and 18th double-double of the season.

Wood, who is the G League’s second-leading scorer, was one of four double-digit Herd performances. Other efforts included Milwaukee’s two-way contractee Bonzie Colson and Michael Qualls who recorded 17 points apiece while Robert Johnson had 10 points and Nick Johnson a team-leading 11 assists.

Seven Bulls players scored in the double digits to contribute to the Windy City’s season-high scoring effort as forward Kaiser Gates led with 24 points on 9-of-11 from the field. Gates also gathered 11 rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Wisconsin held a two point lead, 66-64, at halftime, but Windy City scored a season-high 40 points on homecourt to the Herd’s 16 in the third quarter to take the lead heading into the final 12 minutes of play.

Wisconsin outscored Windy City in the fourth quarter 28-22, but it was not enough as the Bulls maintained their double-digit lead, preserving their sixth spot in the Eastern Conference with a record of 20-17.
The Herd defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers G-League affiliate, the Canton Charge, 117-106 at the Menominee Nation Arena on Sunday.

Wisconsin outscored Cleveland in every quarter but the first, as the Herd complied four double-digit performances including a 45-point, 20-rebound effort from Wood. Woods’ performance was just one point shy of Wisconsin’s individual scoring record of 46 held by teammate Xavier Munford.

Herd head coach Jordan Brady said Wood is inching his way closer to a consistent spot on the Milwaukee Bucks’ roster with nights like these.

“Christian had a monster game. He is a very talented scorer, very talented rebounder but there’s always improvement,” Brady said. “The goal with Christian has always been to be able to get him to play up with the Milwaukee Bucks and improve his defense. As long as he is with us and he continues to grow, he’ll get that chance with Milwaukee and be ready to go.”

Guard Michael Qualls also contributed to the win with 20 points, eight rebounds and two steals. Center Shevon Thompson had 17 points, eight rebounds and three blocks.

Munford, who was on a minute restriction for Wisconsin, had five points, five rebounds and four assists as he made his re-debut for the Herd after spending the initial part of the season playing basketball in China.
Munford said his 24 minutes of action were concentrated within team play and applying what he had learned in China here.

“I just wanted to ease back in, move the ball and show the guys that we can win playing team basketball,” Munford said. “In China they really lean on you to score the ball, and really just work on your offensive game and develop new offensive skill, so that’s what I want to apply here.”

The Charge, who are seated right above the Herd with a 12-23 record in the East, had four double-digit performances over 15 points, including a 27-point night from guard Kobi Simmons.
The Herd fell to the Toronto Raptors’ G-League affiliate, the Raptors 905, 115-113, in a close-fought game that tallied 11 lead changes.

The Raptors led by 11 points heading into the final 3:14 seconds of play, but the Herd rallied for a 10-2 run to bring the game within three points with seconds to play. Wisconsin maintained the final possession but Herd guard Nick Johnson’s attempt at a 31-foot buzzer beater fell short, yielding a 905 victory.

Despite the loss, all five Herd starters finished in double figures; Colson, Qualls and Thompson finished with 20 or more. Colson was Wisconsin’s leading scorer with 28 points, while Qualls had 24 and Thompson 20. Thompson also gathered a game-high 15 rebounds.

The Raptors, who hold the second-best record (22-14) in the Eastern Conference, had five double-digit performances led by Chris Boucher’s game-high 34 points. Jordan Howard led the 905 in bench points with an astounding 27, outscoring the Herd’s entire bench 27-12.

Thompson said despite Wisconsin’s record so far this season, the Herd continue to work their hardest together.

“We are going to try our best,” Thompson said. “We are going out there giving it every effort, every night, to try and get another winning streak going.”
Wisconsin is off until another battle against the Raptors Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m. Central Time at Paramount Fine Foods Centre, Ontario, Canada.