Short-Handed Vipers Beat Rival Toros

The Rio Grande Valley Vipers escaped a late fourth quarter run from the Austin Toros, but slithered past their Western Conference rival 120-114 Friday night at State Farm Arena. The win ends a two game losing skid for Rio Grande Valley as the Vipers improve to 5-3 on the season. The Toros fell to 3-2.

The Toros started the game strong, leading 7-2 after the first three minutes. The VIpers grabbed their first lead at 15-14 with 7:12 to play in the first after Josh Tarver TMs running lay-up. The Toros would tie the game at 21 with 2:58 remaining in the period on Omar Reed TMs running lay-up. Suleiman Braimoh, who played in his first game since joining the team a week ago, responded with a three-point-play to put the Vipers in front for good 24-21.That was the spark to a quarter ending 17-4 run, including a Braimoh buzzer-beating three to take a 38-25 lead after one. In the second, the Vipers increased their lead to 21 with 6:54 to play in the half, as Braimoh hit his third three pointer of the game to make the score 55-34. The Vipers led at the intermission 71-51. In the third quarter, the Vipers looked poised to continue their dominance, Lee Humphrey TMs three-pointer in the first minute increased the lead to 23 at 74-51. The Vipers led 95-79 at the end of three quarters. The game seemed out of reach for the Toros as Humphrey TMs lay-up with 5:21 to play gave the Vipers a 23 point advantage at 113-90. The Toros responded with a 19-2 run to pull within six at 115-109. The Toros would close the lead to four with 10 seconds remaining, but did not have enough time to finish off the comeback. Humphrey led all scored with 26 points including four three-pointers. Stanley Asumnu tallied his first double-double of the season with 20 points and a season best 16 rebounds. Coleman added 19 points and eight boards, while Braimoh scored 16 in his Viper debut. Stefan Welsh led for the Toros with 20 off the bench. Tristan Thompson and Terrance Woodbury each added 13. Omar Reed scored 14 and hauled in 12 boards for the double-double. The two Western Conference foes match-up again on Saturday night in Hidalgo for the second of three straight match-ups between the two squads.