VIPERS EARN 110-94 ROAD WIN IN PLAYOFF OPENER
RENO, Nevada – Rio Grande Valley outscored Reno 29-15 in the final quarter and Antonio Anderson finished a rebound shy of a triple-double as the Vipers knocked off the Bighorns 110-94 at the Reno Events Center Saturday night to take a 1-0 lead in their best-of-three opening round playoff series. It was the first playoff game for both teams, and was the first loss for Reno since the Vipers beat the Bighorns on March 20th 127-113
The Bighorns and Vipers traded buckets early exchanging the lead four times in the opening quarter. Reno took charge with just over four minutes remaining in the period by going on an 8-0 run to take a 24-16 lead with 2:09 remaining in the opening quarter. The Vipers trailed the Bighorns 27-19 at the end of the first.
With 7:55 remaining in the second quarter Richie Frahm knocked down a three-pointer from the right wing to give the Bighorns a 42-31 lead, their largest of the game. On the next possession the Vipers comeback began as Anderson’s three-point play began a 17-5 run for the Vipers that gave them a 48-47 lead with 4:05 remaining in the second period. The Vipers led 57-56 at the end of the first half.
The third quarter was all about establishing position and trying to sustain momentum. The Vipers and Bighorns traded the lead six times and were tied four times throughout the third frame. Ernest Scott gave the Vipers a 68-63 lead with 6:35 remaining in the period. The ensuing possession however, began an 11-0 run, capped off by a DJ Strawberry lay-up to give Reno a 74-68 lead with three minutes remaining in the quarter. The Vipers lead 81-79 entering the fourth.
The final period belonged to RGV. After Reno took an 82-81 lead to start the final period, the Vipers went on a 12-1 run to take a 93-83 lead with 6:15 remaining in regulation. The Vipers led by as many as 18 in the final quarter to cruise to the victory.
Jonathan Wallace led all Viper scorers with 22 points while hauling in seven rebounds and dishing out six assists. Anderson scored 19 with 10 assists and a team high nine rebounds. Will Conroy scored 17 with 11 assists and five boards. Ernest Scott hit six three pointers for his 18 points, while Stan Asumnu scored 14 off the bench.
Rod Benson was dominant for the Bighorns as he scored 22 and brought down 20 rebounds, nine offensive, to lead Reno. DJ Strawberry was strong off the bench scoring 19 with five rebounds. Former Viper Desmon Farmer struggled mightily on Saturday as he scored a season low six points on 1-10 shooting in the loss. Doug Thomas also chipped in with 14 points and seven rebounds.
The Vipers will try to eliminate the Bighorns on Monday night when they host game two of their best-of-three playoff series at State Farm Arena. The game will tip-off at 8pm and will be televised live on VERSUS. Tickets are available by calling 956-972-1144 or by logging on to ticketmaster.com