66ers Top Vipers for Sixth-Straight Win

Box Score

TULSA, Okla., March 2, 2014 - The Tulsa 66ers picked up their sixth-straight win on Sunday by defeating the Rio Grande Valley, 128-120, behind a combined 66 points from Mario Little and Reggie Williams.

Little scored a career-high 35 points to go with eight rebounds in the highest-scoring performance by a 66er since Reggie Jackson scored 37 on Dec. 22, 2012 while on assignment from Oklahoma City. Williams totaled 31 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals while shooting 6-for-10 from behind the three-point line.

Rodney Bartholomew posted his fourth double-double in the past five games with 10 points, 11 rebounds and four assists. Mustafa Shakur collected 13 points, nine assists, three rebounds and three steals and Xavier Alexander tallied 17 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists off the bench.

Tulsa (18-20) shot 40-for-82 (48.8 percent) on the night, including 13-for-31 (41.9 percent) from three-point range. The 66ers outrebounded the Vipers 51-46 and totaled 28 assists.

The Vipers (25-11) took a 22-17 lead after the first quarter before both teams picked up their offensive production in the second. Tulsa trailed 51-41 around the four minute mark of the second quarter before scoring 11 straight points to take its first lead of the day. The 66ers outscored Rio Grande Valley 39-36 in the frame behind 13 points from Little and 12 from Williams and went to halftime down 58-56.

Tulsa came out of the break with strong offensive energy that led to a 22-5 run in the first six minutes of the third quarter to go up 78-63. The 66ers shot 57.1 percent in the quarter and held a 94-88 advantage going into the fourth.

“Our guys wanted to compete and get this win,” said 66ers Head Coach Darko Rajakovic. “I’m so proud of them for their effort. Every single player that stepped on the floor helped our team. Our defense in the third quarter was pretty good but we were also running and keeping a good pace. We scored a lot of points in transition and I think that’s what determined the winner in this game.”

Tulsa scored the first seven points of the final quarter to stretch its lead to double digits, leading by as many as 15 points. Rio Grande Valley went on a late 9-0 run to pull within five with one and a half minutes remaining, but the 66ers defense and free throw shooting kept the Vipers at bay and held onto the win.

Rio Grande Valley was led by Robert Covington with 26 points, 10 rebounds and four assists.

Tulsa has now won all six games since returning from the All-Star break, outscoring its opponents 123.5 to 108.2. Rajakovic credits the 66er’ streak to the team’s dedication to each other and commitment to improving.

“Our group sticks to each other and trusts each other on the floor,” said Rajakovic. “We’re getting better on both ends of the floor. That’s the main thing – these guys want to compete and get better. They’ve all improved individually. When players improve individually it’s easy for teams to show that improvement in games.”

The 66ers are back in action on Wednesday at 11 a.m. when they host the Erie BayHawks for a Kids Day matinee contest. For ticket information, visit Tulsa66ers.com.