The Wisconsin Herd were able to secure their 10th straight victory Thursday night as they fended off an incredibly resilient Maine Red Claws squad.
Facing their biggest test over their current win streak, the Wisconsin Herd escaped the wrath of the Maine Red Claws Thursday night in a 123-118 victory that helped them garner their 10th straight win.
Things couldn’t have gotten off to a better start for the Herd, who scored 17 unanswered points before the Red Claws were able to break their opening scoring drought just under the eight-minute mark. Breaking that drought jumpstarted Maine’s offense from that point on in the quarter, but the Herd still stood on top with a 38-28 edge at the end of one.
The second quarter saw the Herd and the Red Claws effectively trade places as Wisconsin’s hot start turned cold just as the Red Claws started coming alive from downtown.
Eventually, the Red Claws were able to take control of the game and obtain their first lead late in the first half and they went into halftime holding a 65-63 lead.
Maine continued to pour the pressure on the Herd once play picked back up in the third period and they held their biggest lead (10) at the 5:47 mark in the quarter. Yet the Herd continued to rally and they brought their comeback push to a three-point game at 95-92 through three.
That only gave way to an incredible tense fourth quarter that saw the Herd and the Red Claws battle back and forth all throughout. The Red Claws continue to hit from long range, eventually totaling 20 triples, but the Herd were fully able to withstand Maine’s shooting frenzy throughout the night to maintain their perfect road record.
Leading the Herd in scoring for the night was two-way player Frank Mason II, who finished with 25 points on 20 shots (2-for-7 from downtown, 3-of-3 from the foul line), nine assists, seven boards, three turnovers, a steal and was a game-high +21 for the night.
Mason endured through plenty of frustrations as he relentlessly attacked the heart of the Red Claws’ defense and a struggling shooting night from the perimeter. But the impact Mason had in directing the Herd’s offense on the ball was incredibly palpable, as evidenced by his season-high assists.
Jaylen Adams continues to rise up in clutch moments as he put down 10 of his 22 total points throughout the fourth quarter, which included hitting two big triples. And the 24-year-old did all of that while delivering his most efficient outing of the season by going 8-of-12 from the field.
The Herd got a big boost with fourth-year big man Dragan Bender on assignment from the Bucks. Bender stood out in front for the Herd to start the night as he scored 12 of his 16 total points throughout the first period, thanks to his ability to finish at the rim and connect on two triples. The Croatian international did come away with a bit of a knock midway through the fourth quarter and didn’t finish out the game, which will certainly raise questions over how significant his injury may be.
Last but certainly not least, Jemerrio Jones gave the Herd an incredible lift off the bench by doing all of the dirty work and little things that were needed to edge past a resurgent Red Claws team. In over 30 minutes of burn, Jones put up a double-double performance with 14 points on seven shots, 13 rebounds, three assists, a turnover as well as a steal.
The Wisconsin Herd will look for a potential 11th straight victory when they host the Rio Grande Valley Vipers Saturday night for a 7 o’clock showdown at Menominee Nation Arena.