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Vipers Take Over First Place in Western Conference

TULSA, OKLAHOMA –The defending NBA Development League champion Rio Grande Valley Vipers movedinto first place in the Western Conference standings and lowered their magicnumber to clinch home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs to onewith a 100-94 victory over the Tulsa 66ers on Saturday at the Tulsa Convention Center.

The Vipers (31-16)are tied with the Reno Bighorns (31-16), who beat the Sioux Falls Skyforce97-82, atop the Western Conference standings.

The Vipers scoredthe first nine points of the second quarter, going on an 11-1 run to take a40-30 lead after Mouhammad Faye hithis third basket of the run. Faye hit two three-pointers a jumper in theopening 3:22.

Faye scored 20points on 8-of-15 shooting (4-for-8 from behind the arc). Jerel McNeal led the Vipers in scoring with 22 points, hitting 8-of-15shots.

The Vipersjumped out to a 66-52 lead at the 9:16 mark of the third quarter when HoustonRockets-assignee Hasheem Thabeet hita lay-up, but the 66ers (31-17) went on a 12-0 run to pull within 66-64. TheVipers were held scoreless for 6:04, when JonScheyer hit a three-pointer. That sparked a 12-4 run for the Vipers toclose the quarter, punctuated by a two-handed slam by Thabeet.

Thabeetfinished with his first double-double, scoring 14 points with 12 rebounds(seven offensive), three blocks and four steals.

The 66ers hittheir first 23 free throws in a row and ElijahMilsap hit his first nine, before missing two-straight at the front end ofthree free throws with 5:12 remaining in the fourth quarter. The 66ers finished28-for-30, Milsap was 10-for-12 while scoring 14 points. Oklahoma CityThunder-assignee Byron Mullensscored a team-high 18 points with a team-high eight rebounds.

The Vipers playtheir final regular season road game on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. when they face theTexas Legends at Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco.


Vipers Top 100,000 Mark in Attendance for Second-Straight Season

HIDALGO, TEXAS –The defending NBA Development League champion Rio Grande Valley Vipers fellto the Idaho Stampede 115-92 on Wednesday at State Farm Arena in front of a selloutcrowd of 5,605, bringing the Vipers’ season attendance total to 104,755 on theseason.

The Vipersalso pass the Iowa Energy for first place in the NBA Development League inattendance. The Energy do not have any home games left. The Vipers, who areaveraging a league-best and franchise-record 4,762 fans per game this season,have two home games remaining. It is the second year in a row that the Vipershave broken the 100,000 mark in total attendance. The Vipers welcomed 113,077fans through the doors during the regular season last year, an average of 4,712per game.

“We can’tthank our fans enough for the incredible support that they show night afternight. To not only lead the league in attendance two years in a row, but showan increase as well, is a testament to the success of the team both on and offthe court,” Vipers President Bert Garciasaid.

The Vipers(30-16) jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the opening 2:23 on baskets by Jon Scheyer, Mouhammad Faye and JerelMcNeal. The Stampede (20-25) scored the next six points to take a 9-8 leadjust over one minute later, but the Vipers followed with a 14-2 run to take a21-10 lead when Scheyer nailed a three-pointer with 5:30 remaining in the firstquarter.

The Vipers ledthroughout most of the rest of the first half, but the Stampede went on a 20-4run over the final 6:50 of the second quarter to take a 48-45 lead.

The Stampedescored the first eight points of the third quarter, thanks in-part to athree-pointer and a jumper from AntoineWalker. McNeal hit a three-pointer at the 8:26 mark, but Tony Bobbitt hit back-to-backthree-pointers to give the Stampede a 64-48 lead with 7:45 remaining.

Bobbittfinished 8-for-10 from behind the arc while scoring a team-high 26 points to gowith eight rebounds. Walker recorded his second-straight double-double with 24points and 13 rebounds.

The Viperspulled within 86-77 on a McNeal three-pointer with 8:39 left in the fourthquarter, but Walker hit a pair of baskets as the Stampede went on a 9-0 run totake a 95-77 lead and put the game out of reach.

McNeal led theVipers with a game-high 29 points.

The Vipers returnto action on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. when they face the Tulsa 66ers at the TulsaConvention Center. With a win, the Vipers will clinch the season series and thetiebreaker with the 66ers should they finish tied in the Western Conferencestandings.


McNeal's Big Second Half Paces Vipers Victory

HIDALGO, TEXAS – After missing his only shot attempt ofthe first half, Jerel McNeal hit6-of-9 shots in the second half while scoring 18 points to lead the defendingNBA Development League champion Rio Grande Valley Vipers past the Austin Toros118-103 on Saturday at State Farm Arena in front of a crowd of 4,859.

The Vipers(30-14) and Toros (19-24) traded the lead 13 times in the first two and a halfquarters, but with the Vipers leading 60-57 midway through the third, theVipers went on a 9-2 run to take a 69-59 lead after a Richard Roby reverse lay-up at the 5:00 mark. Kyle Weaver hit a jumper and TreKelley hit a free throw to break the run, but the Vipers scored the next ninepoints to take a 78-62 lead on a driving lay-up by McNeal, back-to-back basketsby Terrel Harris, including a slamdunk in transition, and a three-point play by McNeal at the 2:09 mark.

McNeal scored12 points in the third quarter as the Vipers outscored the Toros 37-21 to takean 86-70 lead. They had been tied 49-49 at halftime.

It was McNeal’sfirst game since March 5. He returned from a GATORADE Call-Up to the NewOrleans Hornets earlier in the day. He did not see any action with the Hornets.

Jon Scheyer led the Vipers in scoring wit acareer-high 27 points on 9-of-13 shooting, including a career-best 5-of-9 frombehind the arc. Roby and PatrickSullivan each finished with 20 points.

Weaver led theToros in scoring with 24 points on 7-of-12 shooting including 4-for-6 frombehind the arc. Kevin Palmerfinished with 20 points and nine rebounds.

The Viperswelcome three-time NBA All-Star and one-time NBA Champion Antoine Walker and the Idaho Stampede to State Farm Arena on Mondayat 7:00 p.m. at State Farm Arena. Fans can purchase hot dogs, popcorn and sodafor $1.00 each as well as beer for $1.50 each. Doors open at 6:00.


Vipers Move Into First Place In Front of Sellout Crowd

HIDALGO, TEXAS – The defending NBA Development Leaguechampion Rio Grande Valley Vipers are now tied with the Tulsa 66ers at the topof the Western Conference standings after a 106-97 victory over the Sioux FallsSkyforce on Tuesday at State Farm Arena in front of a sellout crowd of 5,653.

The Skyforce(10-32) opened the game on a 6-0 run powered by a basket, a, steal and anassist by Patrick Ewing Jr. Richard Roby broke that run for theVipers (29-13) by hitting back-to-back baskets. Mouhammad Faye followed with a pair of free throws and Roby bankedin a lay-up to give the Vipers an 8-6 lead. The Vipers extended the run into a21-6 run, taking a 32-18 lead at the end of the first quarter. Roby hit all sixof his shot attempts for 12 of his team-high 27 points.

Roby hit12-of-20 shots while also recording eight rebounds, two assists and threesteals.

The Skyforcegot as close as 47-38 after a pair of free throws from Stephen McDowell at the 4:45 mark, but Jon Scheyer responded with a three-pointer and the Vipersmaintained their lead, going up by as many as 19 points in the third quarter, untillate in the fourth quarter. After Scheyer hit a floater to give the Vipers a100-87 lead with 4:44 remaining, Ewing hit a pair of free throws, McDowell hita jumper and then Ewing hit another pair of free throws to bring the Skyforcewithin 100-93 with 3:01 remaining. Roby responded with a driving lay-up, but Sean Marshall hit a basket and Ewinghit two more free throws to make it 102-97 with 1:06 remaining. Roby missed ashot but grabbed the rebound and put the ball back in with 40.6 secondsremaining to put the game out of reach.

Ewing finished14-for-14 from the foul line while scoring a game-high 35 points to go withfive rebounds.

Scheyer scoreda career-high 24 points on a career-best 8-of-13 shooting, including 4-for-6from behind the arc, to go with a career-high eight assists and a career-hightwo blocked shots. Faye recorded his second-straight double-double and fifth ofthe season with 10 points and 10 rebounds. ConnorAtchley  scored 15 points withsix rebounds and a career-high five blocked shots.

The Vipers welcomethe Austin Toros to State Farm Arena for the final time this season on Fridayat 7:00 p.m. It’s Faith & Family Night. The first 1,000 fans in attendancewill receive koozies, courtesy of Saenz Pharmacy. Fans can take advantage ofthe State Farm Family 4 Pack, which is four tickets, four hot dogs and foursodas for just $44. Doors open at 6:00 p.m.


Vipers to Help Paint McAllen Beautiful on Saturday

MCALLEN, TEXAS – The defending NBA DevelopmentLeague champion Rio Grande Valley Vipers announced Friday that they will takingpart in the Paint McAllen Beautiful Project on Saturday by painting a house at707 Kennedy Avenue in McAllen from 9:00 a.m-to-12:00 p.m.

The entire Vipers roster will be participatingin this event.

The Vipers have already taken part in morecommunity events this season than last season, when they led the league with163 appearances. The Vipers are on pace to make more than 200 communityappearances this season.

Vipers Director of Community Relations Liana Cisneros does a great job ofkeeping us involved in the community. We think the most important thing we dohere is give back to those who have given so much to us. We truly believe thatthe residents of the Rio Grande Valley are not just our fans, but our friendsand family as well,” Vipers President BertGarcia said.