HOFFMAN ESTATES, IL – The Windy City Bulls, presented by BMO Harris Bank, the NBA G League affiliate of the Chicago Bulls, collected their third consecutive win with a 110-100 victory over the Wisconsin Herd on Friday night at Sears Centre Arena.
Antonio Blakeney led the way with a game-high 33 points and eight rebounds. Paul Zipser, who was on assignment from the Chicago Bulls, poured in 25 points (10-17 FGs) and added five rebounds along with five assists, while Cristiano Felicio, also on assignment, tallied 15 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Mychal Mulder, who started in place of Ryan Arcidiacono, scored 12 points and Jaylen Johnson pitched in with nine.
Windy City’s offense was flowing from the start as they scored 12 of the first 18 points in the game. Zipser knocked in two three-pointers and scored 10 points in the opening 12 minutes. An Antonio Blakeney basket gave the Bulls and eight-point lead, but Windy City couldn’t run and hide. The Herd closed the quarter on a 5-0 run and despite shooting 57 percent in the opening quarter, the Bulls led by three, 25-22 at the end of one.
The Herd were without the services of Xavier Munford who averages 23.5 points per game, which leads his team and ranks second in the G League. Joel Bolomboy picked up the slack scoring 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Cliff Alexander poured in 20 points off the bench, while JeQuan Lewis tallied a double-double of his own with 17 points and 11 assists. Kyle Casey pitched in with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting.
The Bulls picked up where they left off and built on the first quarter success. The three-point lead swelled to eight and eventually 15, which was the largest lead of the night for Windy City. Wisconsin battled back and used an 18-6 run to pull within three. Cliff Alexander set the table, leading all scorers with 11 points in the period. The Herd turned six Bulls turnovers into nine points and trailed by three, 52-49 at the intermission.
Wisconsin picked up where they left off and scored the first five points of the third quarter to take a 54-52 lead, their first of the night. The lead was short lived as Mulder responded with a jumper of his own and Windy City retook the lead with 10:49 remaining in the quarter. The third period featured eight ties and three lead changes as the two teams seesawed back-and-forth. With the game tied at 66, the Bulls created separation aided by a 9-0 spurt halfway through the period. Zipser served as the catalyst scoring 11 of his 25 points in the quarter and the Bulls led 83-74 heading into the final 12 minutes.
Offense was scarce as both teams combined for 16 points in the first six minutes of the fourth quarter. Windy City found their way and used back-to-back baskets by Blakeney and Johnson to extend the lead to 13. The Herd wouldn’t go away as they used a 15-6 run to chip away at the lead, eventually making it a two-possession game, 104-100 with just over a minute to play. On the ensuing possession, Blakeney gave the Bulls some breathing room and poured in a jumper to make it a six-point game. Zipser sank two free throws as Windy City scored the final six points of the game to seal the victory.
The Bulls have won the last two meetings and are now 2-1 against the Herd this season. Both teams will head north and play the second half of the home-and-home series on Saturday in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
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