GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Grand Rapids Drive (4-3) held on just long enough to defeat Wisconsin Herd (1-6) on Wednesday night, earning their second straight victory by a final score of 114-112. After the Herd were in control for the first half, the Drive surged in the third quarter as well as the early fourth quarter, and then fought off comeback attempts by Wisconsin to cling to the lead until the final buzzer.
Playing with no NBA assignees for the first time this season, the Drive got a big performance off the bench from Johnny Hamilton, who recorded 21 points, 13 rebounds (7 on the offensive end) and six blocks. Michael Bethea Jr. and Scottie Lindsey scored 19 and 18 points, respectively (both season highs) making their first starts of the year. Keenan Evans chipped in 13 points and Speedy Smith had the Drive’s other double-double aside from Hamilton with 10 points and 12 assists.
For the Herd, James Young scored a game-high 25 points, Michigan State alumni Travis Trice II scored 21 points with nine rebounds, Trevon Duval had 18 points on just nine shooting possessions, and Brandon McCoy finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Trailing by eight points with 9:56 remaining in the third quarter, the Drive managed a key sequence where Lindsey, Smith and Evans hit consecutive three-pointers while the team was able to keep the Herd scoreless. This gave them just their second lead of the game, the first coming late in the first quarter. The Herd re-took the lead the possession afterwards, but the Drive quickly re-gained it and did not relinquish the lead following two free throws by Lindsey with 8:05 remaining in the third.
The Herd nonetheless managed to seriously threaten the Drive in the fourth, pulling together a 13-6 run in the final three minutes to trail by two with 12 seconds remaining. But they were forced to foul, and despite struggling with his shot for much of the game, the Drive’s two-way player Evans was able to knock down both free throws to ice the game.