FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ROCKFORD, IL- The Windy City Bulls, presented by BMO Harris Bank, the G League affiliate of the Chicago Bulls, took on the Iowa Wolves in pre-season action Friday night in Rockford, IL. The game brought professional basketball back to the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford for the first time since 2006.
The Wolves got off to a hot start from three, knocking down better than 50% of their shots from beyond the arc in the first quarter. The Bulls got out in transition from the jump, showing strong chemistry for a team playing in its first pre-season contest. The lead changed hands multiple times in the initial stanza, with Kelan Martin leading the scoring for Iowa with seven points, while Max Strus and P.J. Dozier lead the way for Windy City with five points each. Iowa led 29-25 at the quarter break.
Windy City carried a strong advantage in fast break points, as well as points in the paint into the second quarter. The Bulls used this advantage to quickly knot up the score at 29, and the overall pace increased with transition scores by Dozier and V.J. Beachem, and back-to-back buckets by Max Strus.
Strus did a little bit of everything in the first half as the former DePaul Blue Demon stand out was lighting it up from both inside and out to lead Windy City with 18 points at halftime. The Iowa shooting cooled off in the second quarter, but the Wolves still carried a 62-61 lead into half, led by Keita Bates-Diop with nine points on 4-of-7 shooting, to go along with six rebounds. Both teams shot just under 50% from the field and surrendered only eight turnovers apiece in the first half.
To open the second half, Iowa used a quick three-pointer from Martin, and strong play from Naz Reid and Jaylen Nowell, to spark a 16-7 run and take a 7-point lead with eight minutes remaining in the third. Windy City came charging back, led by Adam Mokoka and Simi Shittu, to cut the Wolves lead to just one point. Gliding lay-ups by Beachem and Perrion Callandret put the Bulls ahead 93-90 leading into the final quarter.
The final frame told the story as the pace of the game slowed and the Wolves’ turnovers dramatically increased. Iowa finished the game with 22 turnovers in total while the Bulls only turned the ball over 12 times in the contest. Ferrakohn Hall gutted out a put back basket to put Windy City up 104-96 with 7:36 remaining. Shittu took a feed on a pick-and-roll from Milton Doyle for a two-handed flush to put the Bulls up 13 and Dozier delivered the dagger, knocking down a deep three with 3:42 on the clock, to stretch the Bulls lead to 18. Windy City didn’t look back, winning the fourth quarter 29-10, along with the game, 122-100.
Windy City saw contributions up and down the lineup, with five players ending up in double figures. Dozier filled the stat sheet with 25 points, five rebounds, and five assists in 32 minutes. Strus cooled in the second half, but still ended with a strong line of 23 points, five rebounds, and three assists in 29 minutes. Ferrakhon Hall finished with a double-double at 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Barry Brown led the Wolves with 15 points. Kelan Martin and Naz Reid chipped in with 14 points each while Iowa’s Jordan Murphy grabbed 10 boards. Windy City will play a closed scrimmage vs. the Sioux Falls Skyforce tomorrow for their final pre-season contest, before taking on the Wisconsin Herd at Menominee Nation Arena in Oshkosh, WI on Friday, November 8 to open regular season play.
The Iowa Wolves will open their season the same night at home vs. the Sioux Falls Skyforce. Windy City’s home opener vs. the Wisconsin Herd comes on Saturday, November 9 at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, IL.