By | January 31, 2018
Photo by John L. Alexander/NBAE via Windy City Bulls

January 31, 2018

HOFFMAN ESTATES, IL – The Windy City Bulls, presented by BMO Harris Bank, the NBA G League affiliate of the Chicago Bulls, fell 124-103 to the Salt Lake City Stars on Wednesday night in Utah. The loss was the fourth consecutive defeat for Windy City, which set a new season-high.

For the first time this season, the Bulls were without the services of both two-way players, Antonio Blakeney and Ryan Arcidiacono. Brandon Wood picked up the slack and scored 28 points, which set a new career-high. Karrington Ward set a new career mark of his own, totaling 18 points and seven rebounds, while Daniel Ochefu added 18 points and 12 rebounds for his third double-double of the season. In his first Windy City action, Stefhon Hannah scored 11 points and dished out three assists off the bench.

Salt Lake City was in command from the outset and led wire-to-wire. Windy City opened the contest shooting 2-for-7 from the field, while the Stars knocked in six of their first seven shots and jumped out to an 11-4 lead. Ochefu had the hot hand early and led all Bulls players with eight points on four made field-goals in the first period. For the third consecutive game, Windy City fell behind by double figures in opening 12 minutes and trailed by as many as 15 points on a Diamond Stone layup. However, the Bulls made a run of their own and scored the final seven points of the period, but trailed 31-23 at the end of the first quarter.

Eight players scored in double figures for the Stars led by Tony Bradley and Georges Niang who collected double-doubles. Bradley poured in 21 points and 10 rebounds on 10-of-13 shooting, while Niang registered 20 points and 10 rebounds. Naz Mitrou-Long scored 17 points and added eight assists and Erik McCree pitched in with 16 points.

Salt Lake City spent the majority of the second quarter protecting a double-digit lead. During a back-and-fourth battle, the Bulls managed to cut the lead to seven on a couple occasions, but were unable to close the gap further. With just over five minutes to play and a seven-point lead, the Stars rattled off six consecutive points and used a 12-2 run to take a 17-point lead. Windy City salvaged the end of the half and used back-to-back baskets by Johnson and Wood to trim the deficit to 13. The Bulls, who average the fifth-fewest turnovers per game, turned the ball over 12 times in the opening half, and trailed 57-44 at the intermission.
Looking to put the game out of reach, Salt Lake City started the third quarter on a 9-4 run and opened their first 20-point lead of the night. From there the Stars didn’t look back as they led by as many as 29 points in the period. They shot over 66 percent from the floor and collected their second 30-point quarter of the evening. The 38 points scored, tied a Salt Lake City season-high for the most points scored in the third period this season. Windy City managed to score the final three points of the quarter on a Hannah three-point basket, but found themselves down 95-69 heading into the final period.

The Bulls found a little momentum in the final 12 minutes and began the quarter on a 21-9 run. The spurt by Windy City made it a 14-point game, the closest they had been since halftime, but that is as close as they would get. On the ensuing possession, Isaiah Cousins poured in a three-point shot to stop the Bulls run and gave the Stars a 17-point lead once more with 7:22 remaining in the contest. Salt Lake City went on to close the game and grab their eighth win of the season in the process. For the first time this season, the Bulls have lost three straight games by 10 or more points.

Windy City concludes their four-game road trip with a Friday night tilt against the Texas Legends in Frisco, Texas. Tip-off is 7:00 p.m. CST at Dr. Pepper Arena.

Fans can stay up-to-date on team news by following the team on Twitter (@WindyCityBulls) or visiting (WindyCityBulls.com). Full season membership, group, and single tickets for the 2017-18 Windy City Bulls season are on sale now. For all ticket information and full season schedule, visit WindyCityBulls.com.