Vipers Fall Short to Mad Ants
FORT WAYNE, Indiana - The Rio Grande Valley Vipers (2-9) fell short on the road to Fort Wayne Mad Ants (2-8) on Monday night, 111-113.
The Vipers started off slow and fell behind but then caught up and led 32-31 with 55.7 left on the clock. Ray Spalding blocked a shot by Fort Wayne and kept the lead going into the second quarter.
Both Brandon Sampson and Jaron Blossomgame led the Vipers in the first with eight points each. RGV shot 58.3 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from beyond the arc. The Mad Ants were led in the first by C.J. Wilcox with nine points while the team shot 54.5 percent from the paint and 70.0 percent from the 3-point line.
The connection between RGV started to spark in the second quarter where guard Angel Rodriguez created plays around with Spalding and Sindarius Thornwell. The Vipers went on a 13-0 run while earning a 43-34 lead.
Jacobi Boykins took a long shot before the 4:00 minute mark from the corner racking up 3-points for RGV. The guard totaled eight points in the second quarter with only 7:42 minutes of action. Wilcox shot 3-4 from beyond the arc and from the field, racking up nine points of his own. Fort Wayne tied up the matchup, 56-56, before going into the half after a free throw made by two-way player Naz Mitrou-Long.
Boykins continued to take chances from the three-point line and brought the Vipers to a 77-78 score with less than 3:00 minutes left on the third. But, the Mad Ants went on a strike totaling five points right after. Walt Lemon Jr. dropped a dunk to secure the lead for Fort Wayne.
With less than 30.0 on the clock, Rodriguez stole the ball, driving the ball into the arc and sending it to Blossomgame. He then took a shot from beyond the arc earning three-points for RGV. The hustle wasn't enough going as the Vipers fell behind 86-88 going into the fourth.
The Mad Ants continued to fight to keep the lead against the Vipers. Rodriguez kept driving the ball inside to pass on to shooters from beyond the arc. Fort Wayne's offense attacked the rim keeping the lead at home.
After a dunk by JaKeenan Gant, Rodriguez drove the ball and sent it to Blossomgame, who took a jump shot, 104-108. At the 1:21 mark, Denver Nuggets assignee, Jarred Vanderbilt, took a jump shot creeping up to a 111-112 closeup.
The intensity rose up between both squads before the end of the matchup. Boykins stole the ball from Fort Wayne, but the Vipers weren't able to capitalize on the opportunity. Blossomgame was fouled with 8.9 left before the final buzzer but did not take advantage of the two free throws given. Mitrou-Long was fouled with 3.3 left on the clock and made it a 111-113 lead for Fort Wayne.
Sampson racked up 20 points of his own along with four assists while shooting 63.6 percent from the field 7-11 FGM) and 50.0 (4-8 3PM) from the 3-point line. Blossomgame also totaled 20 points along with six rebounds, three assists and two steals. He shot 56.3 percent from the paint (9-16 FGM). Rodriguez earned a double-double with 13 points, 10 assists, adding four rebounds, two steals and one block. Thornwell tallied eight points and 11 rebounds tonight.
For Fort Wayne, Mitrou-Long racked up a game-high of 27 points, adding nine rebounds and six assists. Two-way player, Brian Bowen II earned a double-double with 20 points, 12 rebounds while shooting 53.8 percent from the field. Stephan Hicks also tallied a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Wilcox ended the night with 22 points, three assists, two steals and blocks making seven three-pointers.
The Vipers will continue their road series, heading to Canton to take on the Charge on Thursday, Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. For more information, contact the RGV Vipers at 956-56-ARENA or visit www.rgvipers.com.
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