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Turnabout is Fair Play: Big Third Quarter Leads Vipers Past Energy in Game 2

DES MOINES, IOWA –After struggling in the third quarter and losing Game 1, and trailing 74-70early in the third quarter of Game 2 of the best of three Finals, the defendingNBA Development League champion and third-seeded Rio Grande Valley Vipers outscored the top-seeded Iowa Energy 34-to-10 over the next six and a half minutesto pull away and even up the best of three Finals with a 141-122 victory overthe top-seeded Iowa Energy on Wednesday at Wells Fargo Arena.

The Vipers (5-2)and Energy (5-2) play a decisive Game 3 for the championship on Friday at 7:00p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena. Vipers fans can watch the game together during awatch party at Pepper’s at Uptown. The game will be televised on VERSUS, whichcan be found on Time Warner Cable channel 314 (SD)/1314 (HD), Dish Network channel151 and DirecTV channel 603.

The Vipers arenow 6-0 all-time in elimination games.

The Vipers rantheir lead up to 104-84 with 29 seconds left in the third quarter, but Moses Ehambe scored six points to fuelan 11-2 run as the Energy closed with 106-95 with 10:44 remaining in the game.  RichardRoby hit a pair of free throws to break the run, Jerel McNeal followed with a three-point play, and after Ehambe hita jumper, Roby hit a three and PatrickSullivan converted a three-point play to put the Vipers up 117-97 and putthe game out of reach.

McNeal led theVipers with 37 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Roby scored 28 pointswith five rebounds and three assists. Sullivan recorded a double-double with 14points and 10 rebounds, as did MouhammadFaye, with 16 points and 12 rebounds. TerrelHarris finished with 16 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and threesteals.

Curtis Stinson recorded his second-straighttriple-double for the Energy with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists. Ehambeled the Energy in scoring with 33 points.

The Vipers jumpedout to an 8-3 in the opening three minutes thanks in-part to a pair of basketsby Sullivan. The Energy came right back to tie the game at 10-10 and the leadfluctuated back and forth for the rest of the quarter, with neither team leadingby more than three points.

The Viperswere within 31-29 after a Jon Scheyer lay-upin the opening seconds of the second quarter, but Shy Ely hit back-to-back threes to put the Energy up eight. TheVipers went on a 9-2 run to pull within 39-38 at the 8:40 mark. The Viperstrailed 45-43 when they hit five of their next eight three pointers to build a62-51 lead with 3:12 remaining. The Energy scored the next nine points,including five points on two baskets by Ehambe, to pull within 63-60.

The Viperstrailed 74-70 after Ely made a three-pointer with 7:09 remaining in the thirdquarter, but the Vipers went on a 22-7 run over the next 2:38


Game 1 of Finals Packed with Promotions

MCALLEN, TEXAS – The defending NBA DevelopmentLeague champion Rio Grande Valley Vipers announced Friday, that they arehosting an Easter egg hunt, courtesy of Lone Star National Bank, and a freepre-game tailgate party, courtesy of Pepper’s at Uptown and Budweiser, startingat 5:00 p.m. on Sunday outside State Farm Arena.

Children through the age of 15 are invited toparticipate in the Easter egg hunt, with 160 eggs containing cash prizes,courtesy of Lone Star National Bank. Additionally, five lucky fans will have achance to win $1,000 at halftime, courtesy of Lone Star National Bank, in theClutch the Bear Easter egg hunt.

The Vipers are 6-0 during the 2010-11 regularseason and playoffs when Clutch performs.

The Vipers hostthe Iowa Energy in Game 1 of the Finals at 7:00 p.m. at State Farm Arena. Doorsopen at 6:00 p.m. Tickets start at $7 and can be purchased by calling theVipers at 972-1144, at the Vipers Pro-Shop, the State Farm Arena box office orthrough Ticketmaster.

The game willbe televised on VERSUS starting at 9:30 p.m. VERSUS can be found on Time WarnerCable channel 314 (SD)/1314 (HD), Dish Network channel 151 and DirecTV channel603.

Fans areencouraged to wear red.


Vipers Complete Semifinals Sweep of Bighorns

RENO, NEVADA –The defending NBA Development League champion and third-seeded Rio GrandeValley Vipers completed the two-game sweep of the second-seeded Reno Bighorns witha 134-126 overtime win in Game 2 of the Semifinals on Wednesday at the RenoEvents Center.

The Vipers (4-1)open the Finals on Sunday against the top-seeded Iowa Energy on Sunday at 7:00p.m. at State Farm Arena. Tickets start at $7 and can be purchased by callingthe Vipers at 972-1144, at the Vipers Pro-Shop, the State Farm Arena box officeor through Ticketmaster. Game 2 will be on Wednesday, April 27 at 7:00 p.m. atWells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa. If necessary, Game 3 will be on Friday,April 29 at 7:00 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena.

All Finalsgames will be televised on VERSUS, which can be found on Time Warner Cablechannel 314 (SD)/1314 (HD), Dish Network channel 151 and DirecTV channel 603.

When overtimebegan, the Vipers hadn’t led since the first quarter. Patrick Sullivan converted a three-point play with 2:39 remainingin to put the Vipers up 124-121, and the Vipers held the lead for the rest ofthe game.

Sullivanscored 17 points with nine rebounds while hitting 7-of-9 shots. The Vipers wereled in scoring by Jerel McNeal forthe fifth-straight game. He tied for the game-high with 35 points, 18 of whichcame from the foul line on 20 attempts. TerrelHarris scored 27 points.

The Vipers led5-2 after Mouhammad Faye hit athree-pointer in the opening minutes, but the Bighorns (2-3) scored the nextsix points on baskets by Donald Sloan,Doug Thomas and Bobby Simmons to take the lead for the rest of the first half.

The Vipersnever went down by more than six in the first quarter, but the Bighorns led byas many as 10 during the second quarter, including at 56-46 after an Andre Emmett jumper with 2:44remaining. The Vipers scored the next seven points to start a 9-1 run that sawthe Vipers close within 57-55 on a McNeal jumper with 39.6 seconds remaining.

After Matt Janning converted a three-pointplay 26 seconds into the third quarter, to bring the Vipers within three, theBighorns went on a 6-0 run to build their line to nine points. The Bighornstook a 14-point lead at 79-65 when Emmett hit a pair of free throws with 6:27remaining, but the Vipers responded with a 17-3 run to tie the game at 82-82 ona Richard Roby three-pointer with3:23 remaining.

The Viperstied the game multiple times in the fourth quarter, including with 2.2 secondsleft when McNeal hit a pair of free throws to make it 121-121 and forceovertime.

Marcus Landry led the Bighorns with 35 points on12-of-23 shooting.


Vipers Take Game 1 Thriller in Overtime

HIDALGO, TEXAS –Terrel Harris hit a three-pointer with 11.4 seconds left in overtime tolift the defending NBA Development League champion and third-seeded Rio GrandeValley Vipers past the second-seeded Reno Bighorns 98-96 in Game 1 of theSemifinals on Sunday at State Farm Arena in front of a crowd of 5,239.

The Vipers (3-1)take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series and can secure a berth in theFinals for the second year in a row with a win on Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. at theReno Events Center.

The Vipers led88-79 with 6:54 remaining in the fourth quarter, but the Bighorns (2-2) scoredthe next 12 points, including a three-point play by Donald Sloan with 4:19 remaining to give the Bighorns their firstlead since the first quarter, and a driving lay-up with 3:37 remaining to putthe Bighorns up 91-88.

Patrick Sullivan hit a lay-up with 2:43 remaining tobring the Vipers back within one and JonScheyer hit a lay-up with 1:00 remaining to give the Vipers a 92-91 lead. Mo Charlo hit one of two free throwswith 44.5 seconds remaining to tie the game and force overtime.

Charlo hit ajumper with 1:43 left in overtime to give the Bighorns the lead. Harris missedhis first try at responding, but got a rebound and put the ball back in thebasket 21 seconds left to tie the game. AnthonyRichardson hit a basket the next time down the court, but missed a freethrow as the Bighorns went up 96-94. MouhammadFaye hit 1-of-2 free throws to bring the Vipers within one. In the Vipers’final possession Jerel McNeal droveinside, and as the defense collapsed, he passed the ball to Harris to set-uphis only three-pointer of the game. Charlo missed a jumper in an attempt to tiethe game at the buzzer.

McNeal led theVipers in scoring four the fourth-straight game with 31 points. Scheyer scored20, Sullivan finished with 17 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks while Harrisscored 10 points with 12 rebounds.

Richardson andSloan led the Bighorns in scoring with 21 points each.

McNeal hit apair of jumpers, including one from behind the arc as the Vipers jumped out toa 9-2 lead. The Bighorns came back to take the lead at 14-13 on a lay-up by Andre Emmett with 5:33 remaining in thefirst quarter. Scheyer hit a three-pointer to give the Vipers the lead back,but Emmett tied it with a lay-up. RichardRoby followed with a baseline drive that led to a reverse lay-up to givethe Vipers an 18-16 lead at the 3:47 mark.

Emmettrecorded a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

The Bighornsopened the third quarter on a 12-6 run to pull within 56-54 on a three-pointerby Marcus Landry at the 8:58 mark,but the Vipers responded with a 14-0 run punctuated by a reverse-layup from Sullivanat the 4:27 mark to make it 70-54.


Vipers Open Semifinals Against Reno at Home on Sunday

HIDALGO, TEXAS – The defending NBA DevelopmentLeague champion and third-seeded Rio Grande Valley Vipers will host the WesternConference champion and second-seeded Reno Bighorns in Game 1 of thebest-of-three semifinals on Sunday at 5:00 p.m. at State Farm Arena.

Tickets start at $7 are can be purchased throughthe Vipers, Ticketmasteror the State Farm Arena box office.

The game will be televised on VERSUS on tape-delay starting at 10:00 p.m. or immediately after the conclusion ofthe NHL playoffs telecast. VERSUS can be found on Time Warner Cable channel 314(SD)/1314 (HD), Dish Network channel 151 and DirecTV channel 603.

Games 2 and 3 (ifnecessary) will take place at the Reno Events Center on Wednesday and Thursdayat 9:00 p.m.

The Vipers were 1-1 against the Bighorns duringthe regular season, with both games coming in Reno. The Vipers fell 119-111 onDecember 10 and won 126-122 on December 11. Jerel McNeal, who has led the Vipers in scoring in all three gamesof the playoffs thus far, scored a career-high and Vipers season-high 40 pointsin the second game. The Vipers are 4-4 all-time against the Bighorns and 2-1 inpost-season play, as the Vipers beat the Bighorns in last year’s Quarterfinals.The Vipers won the road game and split the home games.

The Vipers are 3-1 in televised games thisseason, including a 2-1 mark when the game is on VERSUS and an 0-1 mark in thepost-season. The Vipers beat the Texas Legends at State Farm Arena on November18 and the Erie BayHawks during the NBA Development League Showcase at theSouth Padre Island Convention Centre on January 12 on VERSUS. The Vipers fellto the Bakersfield Jam at the Jam Events Center in Game 1 of the Quarterfinalson April 8 on VERSUS. The Vipers are 1-1 this season when being televised onthe road, picking up a win against the Austin Toros on Fox Sports Southwest onFebruary 10.

The Vipers are 8-2 all-time when playing onVERSUS, including a 3-1 mark during last year’s playoffs. The Vipers are 2-1when playing on VERSUS on the road, with victories over the Toros and the Tulsa66ers during the Semifinals and Finals of last year’s playoffs, respectively.

The Vipers are 1-1 against the Bighorns onVERSUS and 0-1 during the post-season, with both games coming last year atState Farm Arena.