Wisconsin Herd: Quick reactions from 111-109 loss to Oklahoma City Blue

OSHKOSH, WI - DECEMBER 1: (Photo by Jeffrey Phelps/NBAE via Getty Images)
OSHKOSH, WI - DECEMBER 1: (Photo by Jeffrey Phelps/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Wisconsin Herd’s losing streak climbed to five games Wednesday afternoon as their fourth comeback effort fell short against the Oklahoma City Blue.

An all too familiar feeling at this point, the Wisconsin Herd’s last second shot fell short and derailed their fourth comeback push on the Oklahoma City Blue Wednesday afternoon to give them their fifth straight defeat.

With neither of their two-way players in attendance, the Herd fought through an especially ragged start with the Blue following the opening jump. As the first quarter wore on, the Blue were able to find their footing first, leading to them taking a 29-20 advantage at the end of one.

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While the start of the second quarter didn’t look too promising on this front, the Herd were eventually able to shake off the rust to their sluggish start as they regularly found their way into the paint.

Their offensive success led to the Herd breaking through with a late lead, which was dashed by a buzzer beating three by Blue guard Bryce Alford to give Oklahoma City a 55-53 edge into halftime.

The break proved to stifle the Herd’s late first half turnaround as a three-minute scoring drought near the beginning of the third quarter opened the door for the Blue to take full control of the proceedings again. Oklahoma City obliged and after holding their biggest lead (17) at the 2:32 mark of the period, they took a 90-78 lead into the fourth quarter.

Wisconsin kicked on their comeback push in the final frame, eventually erasing their double digit deficit. While they had plenty of push back from the Blue midway through the period, the Herd’s resilient effort came through to make it a one possession game with a minute left to go following a big pull up three from veteran guard Nick Johnson.

Another triple from Xavier Munford nearly 50 seconds later brought the Herd within 1 of the Blue and eventually a chance to complete their comeback victory after Scotty Hopson went 1-for-2 from the free throw line following an ensuing foul.

Despite a wide open, drawn up look for Johnson at the top of the key, the last second shot was off the mark, leaving the Blue escaping with a much needed victory after losing their last six duels heading into the day.

Player of the game

Fresh off of Team USA duties, Xavier Munford rejoined the Herd and immediately made his mark in his third game with the organization since rejoining them late last month.

Playing nearly 34 and a half minutes of action, Munford finished with a game-high 28 points on 12-of-19 shooting from the field (2-for-5 from three, 2-for-2 from the foul line), six assists as well as six turnovers, three rebounds, two steals and was dead even in terms of his individual plus-minus.

Continuing his run off the bench, the Rhode Island alum steadily got into his groove by reguarly probing the paint to either dump it off to any of the Herd’s big men or to deftly put home layups at the basket.

It was in the fourth quarter where the 26-year-old conjured up some Munford magic, supplying a much needed spark as things looked to have gone sideways for the Herd at that point in the contest. With a pair of triples, including one coming with 9.6 seconds left that brought the Herd within 1 of the Blue, as well as an array of slicing and dicing layups and mid-range makes, 14 of Munford’s 28 points came during the final period.

Doing so while battling through a frustrating run of ticky tacky fouls, Munford came through when the Herd needed it most. Unfortunately, a winning result didn’t come to fruition as a result of Munford’s impressive work.

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The Herd will return back home and host the Fort Wayne Mad Ants at Menominee Nation Arena for a 7 o’clock tilt Friday night. This time, you can catch the game on Twitch.