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Vipers Punch Ticket to Semifinals

HIDALGO, TEXAS –The defending NBA Development League champion and third-seeded Rio GrandeValley Vipers win the best-of-three Quarterfinals series two games to one overthe sixth-seeded Bakersfield Jam with a 112-99 victory in Game 3 on Wednesdayat State Farm Arena in front of a crowd of 3,496.

The Vipers (2-1)win their fifth consecutive elimination game dating back to last year’splayoffs and advance to the semifinals against either the second-seeded RenoBighorns or the fifth-seeded Erie BayHawks, who play a decisive Game 3 in Renoon Thursday.

Jerel McNeal and MouhammadFaye hit back-to-back three points to give the Vipers a 6-0 lead, but theJam (1-2) responded with a 7-0 run to take the lead. Faye hit anotherthree-pointer to give the Vipers the lead right back. The lead changed hands 12times in the first half, with neither team leading by more than five points againuntil Matt Janning nailed a deepthree pointer with 2.5 seconds left in the second quarter to put the Vipers up59-53.

After Janningopened the third quarter with a jumper, the Jam hit back-to-back baskets topull within 61-58 with 10:52 remaining. The Vipers responded with a 16-3 run. TheVipers scored the final 10 points of the run as Janning hit a three-pointer,the Vipers stole the ball, Jon Scheyerhit a three, and then the next time down the court Patrick Sullivan picked up a rebound and a tip-in. Jerel McNeal’s lay-up put the Vipers up77-61 with 7:00 remaining. The Vipers maintained a double-digit lead for therest of the game.

McNeal led theVipers in scoring for the third-straight game, tallying a double-double with 21points, 12 assists and eight rebounds. Sullivan scored 20 points on 8-of-9shooting with seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Janning hit fourthree-pointers while scoring 17 points. TerrelHarris scored 18 points with seven rebounds.

The Jam wereled by Derrick Byars, who scored 26points. Jeremy Wise finished with 25points.


Four Vipers Honored with GATORADE All-NBA Development League Selections

MCALLEN, TEXAS – The defending NBA DevelopmentLeague champion Rio Grande Valley Vipers announced Wednesday that Jeff Adrien (6-7, 245, UConn) andHouston Rockets-assignee Marcus Cousin(6-11, 255, Houston) are members of the All-NBA Development League Second Team,Jerel McNeal (6-3, 200, Marquette)is on the All-NBA Development League Third Team, and Patrick Sullivan (6-9, 215, S.E. Louisiana) earned honorablemention, as voted on by the league head coaches.

The NBA Development League Player of the Monthfor January, Adrien averaged 18.3 points, 11.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 27games (21 starts). He led the league with 20 double-doubles. After joining theVipers on December 30, the Vipers went on a 10-game winning streak to kick offa 22-game stretch in which they went 18-4 record (.818). Adrien averaged 19.9points, 12.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks while starting 20 games with the Vipers.Adrien became the second GATORADE Call-Up from the Vipers this season and the14th in franchise history when he signed with the Golden StateWarriors for the rest of the season on February 25.

Signed by the Rockets on Monday and thenassigned to the Vipers, Cousin made his debut for the Vipers last night, scoringsix points with one rebound and two blocks in 11 minutes off the bench. In 46games (45 starts) with the Austin Toros, Cousin averaged 14.9 points, 8.6rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. A Western Conference All-Star, Cousin wastied for sixth in the league with 19 double-doubles. Cousin’s first GATORADECall-Up came when he signed a 10-day contract with the Utah Jazz on March 9. Infour games, Cousin scored four points with three rebounds and one block in 18minutes. He hit 2-of-3 shots.

McNeal averaged 19.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.4assists and 1.3 steals while starting 47 games during the regular season. Theonly three games he missed came during a GATORADE Call-Up to the New OrleansHornets. He did not see any action during his 10 days in the NBA.

Sullivan averaged 9.4 points and 5.0 rebounds in50 games (19 starts). He is one of only three Vipers to appear in every regularseason game.


Vipers To Be Featured on VERSUS on Friday

MCALLEN, TEXAS – The defending NBA DevelopmentLeague champion and third-seeded Rio Grande Valley Vipers announced Tuesdaythat game one of the NBA Development League Quarterfinals against the sixth-seededBakersfield Jam at the Jam Events Center on Friday will be televised on VERSUS,presented by Turbo Tax, on tape-delay starting at 10:30 p.m.

VERSUS can be found on Time Warner Cable channel314 (SD)/1314 (HD), Dish Network channel 151 and DirecTV channel 603.

The game begins at 9:00 p.m. Fans can catch theaction live by tuning into Jack FM (104.9 FM throughout most of the Valley,95.3 FM on South Padre Island) with pre-game coverage beginning at 8:30 p.m.

The Vipers are 3-0 in televised games thisseason, including a 2-0 mark when the game is on VERSUS. The Vipers beat theTexas Legends at State Farm Arena on November 18 and the Erie BayHawks duringthe NBA Development League Showcase at the South Padre Island Convention Centreon January 12 on VERSUS. The Vipers are 1-0 this season when being televised onthe road, defeating the Austin Toros on Fox Sports Southwest on February 10.

The Vipers are 8-1 all-time when playing onVERSUS, including a 3-1 mark during last year’s playoffs. The Vipers are 2-0when 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 have never before played the Jam in agame on VERSUS.


Vipers Clinch Top Three Finish

HIDALGO, TEXAS –The defending NBA Development League champion Rio Grande Valley Vipersassured themselves of at least the number three seed in the playoffs with a122-103 victory over the Springfield Armor on Saturday at State Farm Arena in frontof a their third-straight sellout crowd, this time of 5,717.

If the RenoBighorns lose at Bakersfield tonight, the Vipers will clinch the number twoseed and their second-straight Western Conference Championship.

The Vipers (33-17)also set a new franchise record in attendance with a league-best 116,372, foran average of 4,849 per game. Last season the Vipers welcomed a league-best 113,077fans through the doors during the regular season, an average of 4,712 per game.

The Vipers hit15-of-23 shots (65.2%) in the first quarter, including 6-of-9 from behind thearc to take a 36-25 lead. Connor Atchleyhit all three of his attempts from behind the arc while Matt Janning hit both of his.

The Viperscontinued their hot shooting throughout the game shooting a season-best 60.5%for the game, including 48% (12-for-25) from behind the arc.

The Viperstook the largest lead of the game at 106-81 when Houston Rockets-assignee Hasheem Thabeet dunked a pass from Jerel McNeal with 8:25 remaining in thefourth quarter.

McNeal led allscorers with 26 points, hitting 11-of-16 shots while recording five rebounds,seven assists and four steals. Thabeet finished with 13 points, eight reboundsand three blocks. In total, eight Vipers reached double-figures in scoring,including Atchley (18), Mouhammad Faye(15), Jon Scheyer (15), Patrick Sullivan (12), Janning (10) andRichard Roby (10).

The Armor(13-37) were led in scoring by Philadelphia 76ers-assignee, who scored 24points with eight rebounds.

The Vipers openup the best of three NBA Development League Quarterfinals on the road. Dates,times and opponents are expected to be available on Sunday.


Vipers Clinch Home Court Advantage in First Round of Playoffs

HIDALGO, TEXAS –The defending NBA Development League champion Rio Grande Valley Vipers assuredthemselves of home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs and oneof the best four records in the league with a 108-95 victory over the SpringfieldArmor on Friday at State Farm Arena in front of a sellout crowd of 5,900.

The Vipers (32-17)jumped out to a 17-2 lead as Houston Rockets-assignee Hasheem Thabeet and MattJanning combined for 10 points and eight rebounds while Mouhammad Faye had four points, fourrebounds and three assists in the opening 5:14. The Vipers led by as many as 23at 32-9 after Patrick Sullivan hit afree throw with 1:40 remaining in the quarter.

Thabeet scoreda season-high 18 points while hitting all eight of his shot attempts to go with10 rebounds (four offensive) and two blocks for his second double-double.Janning hit four three-pointers while scoring 16 points with eight rebounds(four offensive) and three assists. Sullivan hit 6-of-9 shots for 16 pointswhile Faye scored 13 points with 10 rebounds, four assists and two blocks forhis sixth double-double. Terrel Harrisrecorded his second-career double-double with 11 points, a career-high 11rebounds and five assists.

The Armor(13-36) closed the first and opened the second quarter on a 15-4 run to pullwithin 36-24.

The Armorclimbed within five twice in the third quarter, including 76-71 after athree-pointer by JamesOn Curry, butthe Vipers closed the quarter on a 6-2 run to push their lead back up to nineand put the game out of reach.

Curry finishedwith a game-high 21 points.

The Vipers closethe regular season when they face the Armor on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. at StateFarm Arena. It’s Salvation Army Night. The first 1,000 fans in attendance willreceive mini-fans, courtesy of the Salvation Army. Houston Rockets Hall of Famemascot Clutch the Bear will perform. Fans take advantage of the State FarmFamily 4 Pack, which is four tickets, four hot dogs and four sodas for just$44. There will also be a free pre-game tailgate party in the parking lot,courtesy of Pepper’s at Uptown and Budweiser.

The Vipers arealso hosting the RGVSports.comAll-Valley Showcase beginning with the girls game at 2:00 p.m. That will befollowed by a three-point shooting contest, a dunk contest and the boys game. Ticketsto both games and the Vipers game can be purchased for $15 each. $1 from everyticket sold benefits the Salvation Army’s Beat the Heat program.