CLEVELAND, Ohio - The Cleveland Charge completed a sweeping victory over the Wisconsin Herd this weekend, culminating in a close 107-102 win on Sunday night. This success followed an impressive home opener on Friday, headlined by the 49th pick of the 2023 Draft Emoni Bates and Isaiah Mobley, who together racked up over 50 points. However, Bates was absent on Sunday due to a recall by the Cavs for their west coast road trip, and Mobley's day-to-day status due to a foot injury set a challenge for Sunday's game.
Despite these challenges, the Charge gained momentum on the game early. The Charge set a fast pace from the start on Sunday, initially outdoing the Herd 27-15 in the first quarter. Guard Sharife Cooper stepped up remarkably, leading the team with 25 points, alongside 6 assists and 3 rebounds. This performance was highlighted by Cooper reaching his 1000th NBA G-League point.
"I thought we came out strong today." Charge Head Coach Mike Gerrity said postgame about the team's fast start.
"Defensively on the first possession I always say should set the tone for the game. I challenged Zhaire. He did a great job on Ty-Ty, but we knew based on how he played Friday, he would come out aggressive today so wanted to make a concentrated effort on him today and being physical. Guys were in different roles today, some guys who usually come off the bench started today and were excited about it and knew how important it was to close out this series," Gerrity also said.
After being outscored by double-digits in the first quarter, Wisconsin fought back valiantly with a run of their own in the second quarter, led by guard Elijah Hughes. Hughes' three consecutive baskets were crucial in helping the Herd to outscore the Charge by 10 points in that period. Hughes scored 11 of his 17 total points in the quarter.
"I think this was a game of runs. We got out to a 14-point lead and when we got into a huddle, I told them we gave up 15 points, and we couldn't give it all back. Sure enough, we gave up a 30-point quarter. We went on our run, took our foot off the gas let them get comfortable, and saw some shots go in. Give them credit, they made some tough shots tonight,” Gerrity said about the second-quarter run by Wisconsin.
A notable contribution came from guard Devontae Shuler, who, despite not playing in the opener, delivered 11 points on 50 percent shooting and played a key role in defense by forcing multiple turnovers.
"The one thing about Devontae since we got him midway through the season last year is his minutes always fluctuates game to game, but the one thing about Devontae is when his number is called, he's ready to come out and produce. He makes things happens, he's fearless, and a two-way player on both ends of the floor. Was really happy to see him have a good night," Gerrity said postgame.
Rookie Pete Nance, filling in for Mobley, also made a significant impact with a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds, plus 2 blocks.
This victory extends the Charge's winning streak against the Herd to six games, setting a strong tone as they move to 2-0 for the season while the Herd falls to 0-2. The Charge now look forward to a four-game road trip, starting with a match against the Sioux Falls Skyforce in South Dakota.