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Vipers Defeat Mexican League Champions

Rio Grande Valley 118, Los Halcones 116

EDINBURG, TEXAS The defending NBA Development League champion Rio Grande Valley Vipers opened the pre-season with a 118-116 victory over the four-time defending champions of Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Professional in Mexico, los Halcones Universidad Veracruzana en Xalapa at the University of Texas-Pan American Fieldhouse.

The Vipers (1-0) jumped out to an 8-2 lead when Mustafa Shakur hit his first bucket as a Viper, a three-pointer 1:49 into the game. Jerel McNeal hit four baskets as the Vipers went up 22-17 with 3:46 remaining in the first quarter.

Los Halcones (17-3) got within one point at 30-29 when Noe Alonzo hit a three-pointer with 44 seconds left in the first quarter, but Ramon Harris responded with a jumper 16 seconds later to spark an 8-0 run as the Vipers took a 38-29 lead 1:26 into the second quarter. Los Halcones responded with an 8-0 run on the power of two baskets by Jesse Pellot to get within 38-37.

Pellot hit a three-pointer at the 5:49 mark to give los Halcones their first lead since the opening minutes at 46-44. Down 50-49, former-Viper Maurice Carter scored five-straight points to give Los Halcones a 54-50 lead at the 3:45 mark. The Vipers closed the quarter on a 19-5 run, in which Shakur scored six points, to take a 69-59 lead.

Shakur scored 14 points while dishing out two assists while Carter finished with 20 points

The Vipers jumped out to an 81-64 lead early in the third quarter, but an Adrian Zamora layup at the 7:54 mark started a 17-0 run as los Halcones tied the game at 81-81 on a three-pointer by Pellot at the 4:00 mark. Isaiah Swann hit a technical free throw and Richard Roby hit a three-pointer to end the run.

Los Halcones opened the fourth quarter on a 14-6 run, capped by a pair of Alonzo three-pointers to take a 105-101 lead with 7:27 remaining. David Potter hit a lay-up with under five minutes remaining to tie the game and James Cripe followed with a mid-range shot to give the Vipers a 109-107 lead. Pellot tied the game shortly afterwards, but fourth-year Viper Stanley Asumnu responded with a lay-up to give the Vipers a 111-109 lead. Orlando Mendez-Valdez drove through the Vipers defense to tie the game with a lay-up at the 2:24 mark.

Roland nailed a long two from the left-wing with 59.5 seconds left to give the Vipers the lead for good.

The Vipers had seven players reach double-digits in scoring Shakur (14 points), McNeal (10 points), Patrick Sullivan (11 points), Terrel Harris (10 points), Clevin Hannah (12 points), Roby (13 points) and Swann (10 points).

Former-UTPA point guard Paul Stoll played 14:11 for los Halcones, scoring six points on 2-of-3 shooting, dishing out two assists while recording one rebound and one steal. Pellot led los Halcones with 32 points on 9-of-18 shooting, including 5-for-7 from behind the arc. He also hit 9-of-12 free throws.