The Wisconsin Herd overpowered the Delaware Blue Coats in a double-overtime thriller, 148-144, in front of a sellout crowd at Menominee Nation Arena on Wednesday night.
The Blue Coats won the first-half battle, outscoring the Herd in both of the first two quarters to enter the halftime break with a 67-57 lead. The 10-point differential came on the back of a strong shooting half from Delaware, as they got 55.3 percent of their shots to fall, including 40 percent from beyond the arc compared to Wisconsin’s 38.8 percent from the field. After facing an 18-point deficit with 1:24 remaining in the second quarter, the Herd went on an 8-0 run to narrow the lead heading into the third quarter.
Wisconsin used that momentum to its advantage, outscoring Delaware 44-35 in the next twelve minutes and turning in its highest-scoring quarter of the year. Herd forward Michael Qualls erupted for 16 points in the quarter, shooting 75 percent (6-8) from the field and 80 percent (4-5) from beyond the arc. Guard Xavier Munford also shined for Wisconsin, scoring 10 points and hitting a buzzer beater to bring his team’s deficit to just one point (102-101).
Delaware had a big fourth quarter to slow Wisconsin down and force the game to overtime. Facing a six-point deficit with 26.6 seconds remaining in regulation, Blue Coats forward D.J. Hogg hit three three-pointers in the final stretch, including a buzzer beater at the end of the fourth to tie the game at 134.
Both teams scored just three points in the first overtime to force a second overtime. This frame was much more action-packed, seeing four lead changes and two ties. Munford came up big for the Herd, hitting a three to take a 145-142 lead with 26 seconds left and knocking down both free throws a few seconds later to ice the win and bring the score to its final, 148-144.
A handful of Wisconsin players had particularly noteworthy games in the win. Four players earned double-doubles: Bonzie Colson (14 points, 14 rebounds), Christian Wood (39 points, 17 rebounds), Xavier Munford (26 points, 10 assists) and Shevon Thompson (12 points, 10 rebounds). Michael Qualls had a monumental night, scoring a career-high 37 points and knocking down six three-pointers.
The Blue Coats’ saw major production from its non-starters, as the bench posted 71 of the team’s 144 total points. Guard Jared Brownridge led the show, making seven threes en route to leading all bench players with 30 points. Two-way player Shake Milton was the star of the starting core, notching team-highs in points (35) and assists (13).
Wisconsin finishes its final home stand of the season Friday night (7 p.m.) as it takes on the Lakeland Magic.