SANTA CRUZ–The Wisconsin Herd came into Friday night’s game against the Santa Cruz Warriors as owners of the best record in the G League.
They walked away from Kaiser Permanente Arena still the league’s best team with a 116-106 win over the Warriors.
Wisconsin (22-5) improved to 13-1 on the road, while Santa Cruz (15-12) fell to 2-7 at home this season.
Jeremy Pargo finished tied with a team-high 19 points, making 3-of-8 from 3-point distance, to go along with five rebounds and a pair of assists.
“We’re terrible at home. To tell you the truth we’re pretty bad here,” Pargo said.
Pargo said saying that doesn’t sound right because he believes the Warriors fans are some of the best, bar none.
“I don’t know what it is,” Pargo said.
Jacob Evans III, who is on assignment from Golden State, made his season debut with Santa Cruz. He finished with 19 points, five rebounds, three steals and two blocks in 33 minutes played.
“He’s so athletic and so long I feel like he can just get to the basket at will,” said Warriors coach Kris Weems.
Weems said he felt Evans in the second half was a bit more active on defense, creating turnovers for Santa Cruz.
The Warriors forced the Herd into 25 turnovers, one short of their season-high.
“We need more of that,” Weems said.
Alen Smailagic, also on assignment from Golden State, tallied 13 points, nine rebounds, three steals and two blocks in 29 minutes. Golden State two-way guard Ky Bowman added seven points and five rebounds.
Jaylen Adams had a team-high 17 points and six assists for Wisconsin. Leon Gilmore III and Shannon Bogues both added 15 points each.
Santa Cruz surrendered 41 points in the first quarter but it finished the first half on a 16-4 run to take a 65-64 lead going into halftime.
The teams battled back and forth in the third quarter. Santa Cruz scored the last five points of the period, trailing Wisconsin by four points, 92-88, entering the fourth.
The Warriors closed the gap to one in the final stanza but never regained the lead. Wisconsin held Santa Cruz to just three points in the final three minutes.
“We were fine if we don’t turn the damn ball over,” Pargo said. “I think they’re far out better by no stretch of the imagination. We got to wake up and play better, that’s all.”
Warriors guard Andrew Harrison came off the bench and added 13 points in the first half. He finished the night with 17 points, shooting 50 percent (3-of-6) from 3-point range. Ryan Taylor chipped in six points off the bench.
The Warriors continue their six-game homestand on a short turnaround against the South Bay Lakers (10-18) tonight at 5 p.m.
“It’s basketball, we’ve done it for a very long time,” Pargo said. “We come in, we focus on what’s going for the next game. We regroup and get ready.”