Wisconsin Herd needed more game than Ron Harper

The 905 taught the Herd how to make poutine on their promotional Curd Night, with more late-game three-point shooting than Ron Harper, the bomb sparker ...

In the clairvoyant words of the late Lamont Coleman (a.k.a. Big L), the Wisconsin Herd in 2023 would need “more game than Ron Harper” to beat the 905.

This past Saturday, Wisconsin’s deadly combination of Jordan Bone and Rob Edwards late in the fourth couldn’t get the Herd past the 905. Nor could former 905 Alex Antetokounmpo’s fists as he got ready to box Harper.

Bone hit a triple to inch within seven, but Harper’s 3 gave the 905 a 10-point buffer. With less than two minutes, Edwards hit two free throws to inch within four, but Harper’s trifecta deflated them with a seven-point lead.

Bone hit another three, but Reggie Perry’s layup gave the 905 a six-point lead with 36 seconds left on the clock. Bone, Edwards, and Brandon Randolph were the only three Herd players to score in the fourth, after Elijah Hughes had 11 points in the third.

The 905 walked away with a 135-126 win, but the ending wasn’t as pretty as the final score shows. One, the 905 had both two-way players, and Christian Koloko, making his debut appearance, while the Herd had no two-ways nor assignees. It was too bad Koloko couldn’t duke it out with Sandro Mamukelashvili.

But the Herd had a sixth man in their sold-out crowd of 3,565 for Curd Night. In their previous game against Westchester, they had over 4,100 attending the game, and reached record-noise levels.

In the second quarter, the 905 taught Wisconsin how to make poutine on their promo night.

Their lead got so comfortable late in the second quarter, Koloko hoisted up a triple and made it. The broadcaster joked to his partner with a “He can do that too!?” face.

The 905 regained a double-digit lead mid-way through the second, and pushed it to a 22-point lead at halftime. The 905 lost the third frame, 26-34, and after Brown hit a triple (he went 2-for-3 from deep in the third), the Herd went on a 11-4 lead in the final two minutes and 49 seconds, forcing a 905 timeout at the end. The 905 worked the ball well offensively, but didn’t make their shots. Defensively, they left the perimeter open, and were too slow on closeouts.

The 905 started the fourth off strong, even with Koloko on the bench. Passes were flowing like a Big L track, it became a dougle-digit lead, and the ball ended up in Ryan Hawkins’ and Gabe Brown’s hands for the made three (the latter was a beautiful display of ball movement, touching each 905 player’s hands, and a Hawkins’ butt screen set Brown up perfectly for a open corner 3. Platinum Plus basketball).

But Wisconsin is known for punching above its weight; it’s the home to the Packers and Bucks despite a statewide population similar to GTA’s. In Herd’s last game, they came back from a 0-14 second quarter start, easily turned the momentum back in their favour, and showed they’re not afraid to enter a three-point contest.

They did exactly that, hoisting 12 of their 40 threes in the fourth.

While Koloko sat on the bench, Perry was like the younger brother, desperate to remind his parents his worth in the older one’s absence. Perry got frustrated at a non-call, and at not getting the ball into his hands, rightfully, on the following offensive set. Then, he turned the ball over, missed a turn around jumper, and his pent-up frustration blew up into a technical on the defensive end.

These mishaps shaved the 905 lead down to eight points with less than five minutes left in the game. Then, older bro came back in, though he had limited impact. Koloko came up on Bone without his hands up, and the latter nailed the triple on the Raptors rookie.

From the six minute mark to Antetokounmpo getting the flagrant type-2 (after being first hit by Harper), the Herd led 15-12, and came within four points.

A win is a win, but the 905 should have had a more dominant one in Oshkosh. The 905 return to the Land of Canada Goose jackets with a perfect 3-0 road record, and face the bottom-dwelling Birmingham Squadron this Wednesday and Thursday.

Reggie Perry finished with a team-high 26 points on 10-for-22 shooting with nine boards, and Ron Harper had 22 on 7-for-12 shooting (4-for-8 beyond the arc). Christian Koloko had 13 points and six blocks. David Johnson continues to build on his three-point shooting, scoring 4-for-6 from downtown, en route to a 22-point performance on 8-for-11 shooting.

4 thoughts on “Wisconsin Herd needed more game than Ron Harper”

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