Wisconsin Herd snaps four game skid


Jacob Link / Advance-Titan — The Herd’s Sandro Mamukelashvili brings the ball up the floor on Dec. 14.

Jacob Link, Co-Sports Editor

AJ Green had a game-high 25 points as the Wisconsin Herd took down the Birmingham Squadron 99-85 Dec. 20 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas during the G League’s AT&T Winter Showcase.

After coming out of the locker room down 49-42, Birmingham (6-11) opened the second half on a 7-3 run which saw the Herd lead cut to just three points. The teams went on to trade baskets for the next four minutes until Sandro Mamukelashvili hit a 3-ball and threw down a nasty dunk to put the Herd (7-10) up eight points.

The Squadron caught on fire towards the end of the period and went on a 13-0 run to take the 69-68 lead after a pair of free throws. The Herd kept the game close and a 2-point free throw from Lindell Wigginton saw Wisconsin go into the break with a 74-73 advantage.

The G League’s AT&T Winter Showcase implemented a target score system in the fourth quarter to replace a game clock, meaning Wisconsin had to score 25 points in the final period to secure the win.

Birmingham’s James Kelly Sr. hit a floater to retake the lead, but the Herd responded with a Joe Wieskamp layup to begin the fourth quarter. Wieskamp and Green hit back-to-back threes as the Herd took an 82-75 lead. Green, who had nine points in the quarter, hit a 3-pointer to put the Herd on top double-digits and added a layup to put Wisconsin over the target score to grab their seventh win of the season.

Birmingham jumped out to a 4-0 lead, but the Herd started to hit shots and took their first lead of the day after a Green 3-pointer with 8:23 to go in the first quarter. The opening period was a back-and-forth affair until Wisconsin went on top 19-18 before scoring 12 straight points to take a 35-22 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Herd maintained a double-digit lead for most of the second quarter, at one point seeing their advantage reach 15, before the Squadron fought their way back to cut the lead to just five. Wigginton added a layup with less than three seconds to go in the half as Wisconsin went into halftime up 49-42.

Mamukelashvili had another strong performance, scoring 21 points and grabbing 12 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season. Wieskamp finished with 15 points and Wigginton added 14 points and nine assists off the bench. In his first game back from his injury, center Jontay Porter scored six points and grabbed seven rebounds.

Iverson Molinar, Nate Roberts and Alex Antetokounmpo, who has been battling an illness, did not play.

For Birmingham, Kira Lewis Jr. led the team with 22 points. Kelly Sr. had 12 points and seven rebounds off the bench while Feron Hunt finished with 11 points.

The Herd will take on the Austin Spurs (5-12) tomorrow night at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas during the G League’s AT&T Winter Showcase at 7:30 p.m.