Herd Claims Best Record in G League, Downs Rio Grande Valley 128-115
OSHKOSH, WI - The Wisconsin Herd (11-1), the NBA G League affiliate of the Milwaukee Bucks, pushed its franchise-long winning streak to 11 games with a 128-115 win over the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (2-11) on Saturday night inside Menominee Nation Arena.
Six Herd players scored in double figures, including all five starters. Rayjon Tucker and Frank Mason led the way by tallying 26 points and 10 field goals apiece. For the fourth straight game, Jaylen Adams scored 20 or more points and collected a stat line of 23 points, seven rebounds, five assists and a steal, and Cameron Reynolds had 15 points, six rebounds and two steals. Shannon Bogues posted his third double-digit scoring effort of the season and notched 13 points off the bench, while Jemerrio Jones pitched in with 10 points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block.
Jarred Vanderbilt, who was assigned to Rio Grande Valley from the Denver Nuggets, posted a team-high 21 points to go with 10 rebounds and three blocks in a reserve role. Angel Rodriguez recorded 19 points and six rebounds, while Ray Spalding scored 17 points and added 11 rebounds and three assists. Jacobi Boykins registered 14 points and five rebounds and Matur Maker, brother of Thon Maker, posted 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting. Brandon Sampson contributed with 11 points, six assists and two blocks.
Rio Grande Valley scored the opening basket of the game, which turned out to be its only lead of the evening. The Herd promptly responded by totaling the next 10 points and jumped out to an early eight-point advantage. In total, Wisconsin made its first seven shots from the field and didn't collect its first miss until the 7:40 mark. The Vipers managed to pull within three at the halfway point of the first quarter, but the Herd scored 11 of the next 15 points and extended its lead to double figures. The Herd led by as many as 13 points in the period and Adams served as the catalyst. He shot 4-of-4 from the field and totaled 12 first quarter points, which tied Dragan Bender for the most points scored by a Herd player in the opening 12 minutes this season. As a unit, Wisconsin shot 53% from the field, 7-of-9 from the three-point line and led 40-29 at the end of the first quarter.
The Vipers began the second quarter by scoring six of the first eight points, but like the first period, the Herd answered in kind and used a 10-0 run to push its lead from five to 15. Wisconsin shot just 38% from the field and scored 28 points in the frame but defensively, the team held Rio Grande Valley to 16 points, which is a season-low for points in a quarter by an opponent. The Herd upped its lead to 19 and eventually crossed the 20-point threshold on Bogues' second career three-point field goal. Wisconsin ended up grabbing its largest lead of the night in the second quarter as Adams gave the Herd a 24-point advantage on 29-foot pullup jumper. With time winding down, Reynolds capped the half by scoring the final basket of the period with exactly one second remaining. The Herd put together its second-best offensive first half of the season and led 68-45 at the intermission.
The second half was status quo as Wisconsin maintained its double-digit lead throughout the final 24 minutes. The Herd withstood Rio Grande Valley's best shot as the Vipers scored 38 third quarter points and shot over 55% from the floor. The Vipers cut its deficit to as little as 13 points at the start of the fourth quarter, but couldn't draw closer. Rio Grande Valley, who trailed by 23 at the half, outscored Wisconsin by 10 in the second half, but the Herd's stellar first half proved to the difference. Wisconsin led for the final 46 minutes and cruised to a 128-115 victory.
With the win and a loss by the Memphis Hustle, Wisconsin now owns the best overall record in the G League along with the league's longest current winning streak. The Herd also has a full three-game lead over the Canton Charge for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Additionally, Wisconsin is 2-0 all-time against the Vipers, and the 128 points scored marks the fifth consecutive game in which the Herd have scored 120 points or more.
Wisconsin will have a full week off before embarking on a two-game road trip against Central Division foes. Game 1 of the road trip will feature a stop in Canton as Wisconsin takes on the Charge. Tip-off inside Canton Memorial Civic Center is set for Saturday, Dec. 14 at 6:00pm CT.
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