Herd score franchise record 49 first quarter points in victory


Jacob Link / Advance-Titan — Wisconsin’s Sandro Mamukelashvili drives into the lane in the Herd’s 120-116 victory Jan. 6 at the Oshkosh Arena.

Jacob Link, Co-Sports Editor

The Wisconsin Herd scored a franchise-record 49 points in the first quarter but had to come from behind in their 120-116 victory over the College Park Skyhawks Jan. 6 at the Oshkosh arena.

“We didn’t think we would put up 49 points in the first quarter, so that’s phenomenal,” Herd head coach Chaisson Allen said. “It showed our willingness to share the ball, play together and play fast which we’ve been trying to do since training camp.”

Just after halftime, the Herd (3-0) built a 16-point lead, but quickly saw it disappear when the Skyhawks (1-3) went on a 10-2 run to cut the Wisconsin advantage to eight points. College Park’s Brandon Williams single-handedly kept the Skyhawks in the game, scoring 18 points in the third quarter and dishing out an assist to Galloway as the Herd found themselves up just one point. The Skyhawks, who shot 58% in the third quarter, took the lead after a Davion Warren reverse layup with 57 seconds to go in the period. Both teams traded free throws as the Skyhawks finished the quarter on top 94-93.

“Overall, this is a game of runs,” Allen said. “You know they’re going to get back into the game at some point so it’s about what you are going to do to get back into the game. We were able to withhold their runs and make enough stops and put the ball in the basket a few more times than them down the stretch.”

College Park held their largest lead of the night, five points, early in the fourth quarter and continued to trade baskets with the Herd for most of the period. After not scoring a basket in nearly four minutes of game time, the Herd scored seven straight points to take the lead following a layup from Milwaukee Bucks two-way player Sandro Mamukelashvili. Mamukelashvili put the game to bed after a monster dunk with under 30 seconds to go in the game as the Herd grinded out their fifth straight victory dating back to the Showcase Cup season.

Allen said the biggest difference was subbing in Brandon Randolph in the fourth quarter.

“He’s been back-and-forth, in and out of the lineup all year and he came in and showed up big time,” he said. “Down the stretch he hit a couple big shots for us and on the defensive side we got stops.”

The Herd jumped out to a 17-2 lead in the first quarter within the first four minutes of action, starting the game on 6-7 shooting. Wisconsin, who finished the period shooting 63%, grew its lead to 25 points with under two minutes to go in the quarter following a Jontay Porter layup. Herd guard Lindell Wigginton went perfect in the first quarter on 3-3 shooting, scoring 13 points as Wisconsin led 49-26 at the break.

In the second quarter, the Skyhawks began to chip away at the Herd lead when College Park’s Langston Galloway scored a quick seven points to pull the Skyhawks within 14 points. With three minutes to play in the half, Cat Barber nailed a 14-foot jumper to cut the Wisconsin lead to just eight points. The Herd would finish the period on a 7-2 run to go into the locker room up 71-58 behind a masterful performance from Mamukelashvili, who had 18 points in the half to lead all scorers.

Sandro Mamukelashvili
Jacob Link / Advance-Titan — The Herd’s Sandro Mamukelashvili takes flight in the second quarter against College Park Jan. 6.

Mamukelashvili said he took advantage of College Park’s big men guarding him on the perimeter.

“I’ve been working on my game a lot and it’s hard to show sometimes with the bucks,” he said. “I’ve been working on attacking little guys and playing one-on-one with guys like Wesley Mathews and Jordan Nwora to get better. Today, I just took advantage of my quickness and whenever they switched the little guys on to me I posted up.”

Mamukelashvili finished the game with 29 points and 16 rebounds for his second double-double of the regular season. Wigginton made a game-high five 3-pointers to finish the night with 25 points while fellow guard Jordan Bone finished with 23 points. Center Jontay Porter, who is averaging 16.6 rebounds a game, grabbed a game-high 17 boards. Forward Elijah Hughes, in his second start on the regular season, scored 13 points for the Herd.

Allen said that Wigginton has found his way to the starting lineup after starting the Showcase Cup season on the bench.

“Lindell has been willing to do both for us and now with the one-two punch with him and Jordan Bone in the guard spot, he has helped us and I think we found a rhythm with those two,” Allen said.

Off the bench, Rob Edwards and Brandon Randolph added 11 and 10 points, respectively. Wisconsin played with only eight players after Iverson Molinar and Nate Roberts did not play.

The Herd’s Joe Weiskamp, a usual starter, did not play because the Toronto Raptors are signing him to a 10-day contract, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

For College Park, Williams finished with a game-high 34 points while Barber added 20 points off the bench. Galloway had 17 points in the game for the Skyhawks and center Chris Silva led the team in rebounds with eight, also scoring 12 points.

“It’s always tough facing an opponent back-to-back, you kind of have to guess what they’re going to do so we just came in with the same gameplan,” Allen said. “In the second half we made a few adjustments where we changed up our defense but overall, the guys just played hard and aggressive and we came out with a win.”

Coming off the bench for the Skyhawks was Giorgi Bezhanishvili, the cousin of Mamukelashvili who is also from the country of Georgia.

“Seeing him every time is a blessing,” Mamukelashvili said after mentioning that it was Orthodox Christmas in Georgia. “It’s the best thing when you go up against someone you love. It was emotional but at the same time I wanted to play hard so I played hard, and he played hard so it was great to see him.”

“We try and represent Georgia as much as possible and carry basketball on our shoulders,” Mamukelashvili said. “We have great players and we take pride in coming over here to play.”

With the win, the Herd remain perfect in the NBA G League regular season and sit third in the Eastern Conference. Wisconsin will take on the undefeated Memphis Hustle (3-0) Jan. 11 at 6 p.m. at the Oshkosh Arena.