Herd unable to limit Windy City scoring in 144-133 loss


Jacob Link / Advance-Titan — The Herd’s Alize Johnson drives through the lane in Wisconsin’s 144-133 loss Feb. 3.

Jacob Link, Co-Sports Editor

Alize Johnson recorded a triple-double, but the Wisconsin Herd fell to the Windy City Bulls 144-133 Feb. 3 at the Oshkosh Arena.

Johnson scored 22 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and dished out 10 assists in just his fourth game for the Herd this season after being traded to Wisconsin from the Austin Spurs.

Despite shooting 51% from the floor, the Herd (5-11) could not keep up with the Bulls (6-9) in the second half and Windy City finished the game shooting 60%. The Bulls were led by guard Carlik Jones who dropped 40 points on 8-9 shooting from behind the arc to go along with his team-high six assists.

The Herd opened the second half on an 11-4 run to build a 20-point lead after a Johnson layup with just under nine minutes to play in the third quarter. The Bulls began to chip away at the Wisconsin advantages midway through the quarter, going on a 23-9 run to cut the lead to just four points.

Milwaukee Bucks two-way player A.J. Green said the Herd was able to open up a 20-point lead in the first quarter because of the way the team was playing together.

“We knew how they were defending the ball screen and Alize, along with our bigs, just did a good job just making plays from there,” he said. “We got a lot of open shots and we knocked them down.”

The Herd could not find an answer to the Windy City offense that took a two-point advantage after seven straight points from Javon Freeman-Liberty. Wisconsin regained its footing in the final minute of the period and Green drilled a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to send the Herd into the fourth quarter leading by two points.

Green said Wisconsin couldn’t get enough stops when it mattered most, allowing the Bulls back into the game.

“It started a little bit in transition and they kind of got some momentum,” he said. “Then in the half court we didn’t do a good job of guarding guys. They went on a couple of runs and we didn’t respond.”

Windy City scored two quick baskets to open the fourth quarter and take a two-point lead 30 seconds into the quarter and would keep their lead for the remainder of the game. With just under 10 minutes to go, the Bulls went on a 16-7 run after a Jones 3-pointer and extended the lead to double-digits. Wisconsin made the game close after an 8-0 run brought the Herd to within two points after back-to-back 3-pointers, but the Bulls finished the contest on a 16-7 run to secure the victory.

“We were able to cut it to a two possession game but they made tough shots and they kept putting their head down and driving it to the hoop,” Green said. “We just couldn’t come up with enough stops.”

The teams traded baskets for most of the first quarter until the Herd finished the quarter on a 14-0 run behind eight points from Joe Wieskamp and Wisconsin went into the break leading 35-26.

Rob Edwards hit a 3-pointer to begin the second quarter as the Herd lead reached double-digits for the first time in the game. Wisconsin maintained its double-digit lead for most of the second period until a string of four straight Bulls baskets cut the advantage to eight points. Johnson drove down the court and found an open Wieskamp who drilled a 3-pointer at the buzzer and the Herd led 72-59 at halftime.

Edwards led the Herd with 26 points and Green finished right behind him with 25 points on 6-10 shooting from behind the arc. Off the bench, Wieskamp scored 16 points while Jordan Bone and Paris Bass each scored 13 points, respectively, in the contest.

For the Bulls, every starter finished the game in double-figures, with center Marko Simonovic scoring 21 points, Malcom Hill scoring 18 points, Dalen Terry scoring 15 points and Ethan Thompson finishing with 13 points. Freeman-Liberty and Daniel Oturu added 17 and 10 points, respectively, off the bench.

The Herd, who sit 14th in the Eastern Conference, will take on the Santa Cruz Warriors (6-8) Feb. 7 at the Oshkosh Arena at 6 p.m.

The Herd fell to the Westchester Knicks 115-111 Feb. 1 at the Oshkosh Arena even after outscoring the Knicks in the final two quarters.

Westchester dominated the first quarter, outscoring the Herd 44-29 behind a 13-point quarter from DaQuan Jeffries. The Herd fought back to cut the lead to four points, but the Knicks finished the second quarter on a 17-2 run to lead 73-54 at halftime. Westchester maintained its double-digit lead for the entire third quarter, but the Herd were able to cut the lead to 10 points by the end of the period.

Wisconsin went on an 11-0 run midway through the fourth quarter to tie the game at 106 but was outscored 9-5 in the final two minutes for the Herd’s third straight loss.

Green led the Herd with 24 points on 6-15 shooting from behind the arc and Milwaukee Bucks forward MarJon Beauchamp added 10 points off the bench. Jeffries finished with a game high 33 points to lead all Knicks scorers.