HIDALGO – Left to fend for themselves without their Oklahoma City Thunder ringers, the Tulsa 66ers ran into a record-setting 3-point barrage from the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, who swept their best-of-three NBA Development League semifinal series with a 113-106 win Sunday.
The Vipers, who won for the 14th time in a row, sank 19 shots from beyond the arc at State Farm Arena, and that broke the Vipers’ franchise record of 17 treys set on Feb. 2, 2011, against Iowa.
More importantly, the victory sends the Vipers into the NBADL finals for the third time in the last four years. The Vipers will play the first-year Santa Cruz Warriors for the league title in a best-of-three series. The schedule is expected to be announced today. The Vipers will play the first game on the road. Games 2 and, if necessary, Game 3 will be at State Farm Arena.
“We’ve been working hard all season,” said Vipers point guard Toure Murry, who had 19 points. “I felt like we deserved this. We’ve stuck together all season and played at a high level.”
The Vipers made 19 of 43 shots from the arc as all but two players who competed for the RGV made at least one 3. Glen Rice Jr. and D.J. Kennedy each made four. Murry and Chris Johnson made three apiece. Kyle Fogg and Houston Rockets assignee Tim Ohlbrecht each had two, and Mike Singletary had one.
“That’s our game,” Kennedy said. “We shoot a lot of 3s. Today, we were able to knock them down. That was able to help us.”
The Vipers needed just about all of those long-range shots to overcome a pesky 66ers team that was playing without Thunder assignees Jeremy Lamb, DeAndre Liggins and Perry Jones. The Thunder trio combined for 59 points during the series’ opening game, a 107-92 Vipers’ victory Friday. On Saturday, they were recalled by the Thunder.
“We knew we had to be ready,” Kennedy said. “We didn’t know for sure what they were going to do as far as lineups. We just knew we had to be ready. Give a lot of credit to those guys, they fought hard the whole game.”
Kennedy recorded a triple-double with 28 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. Rice had 20 points. Ohlbrecht had 16 points and 10.
Rasual Butler led the 66ers with 26 points. Tony Taylor had 12 points and 12 rebounds.
The Vipers looked like they put the game away when Ohlbrecht’s 3-pointer – the team’s 18th of the contest – to make the score 106-88 with 4:27 remaining in the fourth quarter. The 66ers then went on an 18-5 run to cut the score to 111-106 at the 9-second mark. Kennedy sank two free throws to secure the game.
“What happened was about what I thought would happen,” Vipers coach Nick Nurse said. “They were gritty as hell. They played together. They had nothing to lose. I thought we should have got away from there. It got a little goofy at the end.”
Nurse said he was a little concerned about his team taking Tulsa likely because they didn’t have their NBA assignees.
“It was an issue,” Nurse said. “I had seen it before. I talked to the team about it after the game (Friday) that it could be a possibility, and we couldn’t worry about it and we had to take care of ourselves.”
The fact the Vipers won with ease Friday helped their approach Sunday.
“When they sent their (NBA) guys down, we felt like we had the same talent as that team,” Murry said. “It’s nothing different. We still have to play 5 on 5, and we still have to put the ball in the hole.”
David Hinojosa covers the Rio Grande Valley Vipers for The Monitor. You can reach him at (956) 683-4442 or via email at email@example.com.
UTB-TSC to compete in RRAC Tournament
OKLAHOMA CITY - The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College women's golf team has played some of the best NAIA competition, traveling across the state and to Florida this spring.
They will use all their gained experience when they travel to Oklahoma City for the Red River Athletic Conference Tournament, hosted by Southwestern College, which starts Monday. The tournament's team champion receives an automatic bid to the 2013 NAIA national tournament.
The two-day 36-hole stroke play will be at the Lincoln Park Golf Course.
UTB/-SC will have some stiff competition in conference foe Northwood University, which they have seen three times this season. UTB-TSC challenged the Knights in November at the South Padre Island Golf Course, ending in second place at 24 strokes back.
"This year we are facing a big challenge that is Northwood University" UTB-TSC coach Anthony Lopez said. "They are very strong throughout their lineup but I am confident we can compete if we play our best,."
Alainey Muro was the individual champion during last season's conference tournament, shattering the school's previous scoring record by shooting a 145 (71-74) to earn a berth in the NAIA national championships in Greenville, Tenn. UTB-TSC had the best finish in program's history at that tournament, finishing second by just one stroke.
"This team excited and hungry to compete and have a chance to advance to the national tournament," Lopez said. "Regardless of where we finish, I want this group of girls to play well and end the year on a good note, I know they have it in them."
-- UTB-TSC Service
Knight dominates as UTPA takes series with HBU.
HOUSTON – Dusten Knight struck out a career-high 12 in eight innings to lead the University of Texas-Pan American Broncs baseball team past the Houston Baptist University Huskies 4-1 on Sunday at Husky Field.
The Broncs (19-17, 10-2 Great West Conference) took three out of four from the Huskies (17-19-1, 6-6 GWC) to maintain their one-game lead over Northern Colorado for first place.
Knight (3-2) allowed one run on five hits and two walks while winning his second straight start. Aaron Moore recorded his fourth save with a scoreless ninth.
Shane Ammon and Shane Klemcke led the Broncs offensively by recording three hits each.
The Broncs got on the board against Ross Kennell (4-3) in the third. Alberto Morales led off with a double. Klemcke laid down a sacrifice bunt, but the throw got away, allowing Morales to score and Klemcke to reach. One out later, Riley Goulding brought in a run with a bunt single. Ammon and Alex Howe hit back-to-back singles to load the bases, and then Jacob Huckabay was hit by a pitch to force in a run and make it 3-0.
Goulding was hit by a pitch to lead off the fifth. Ammon followed with a single, and Howe then hit a grounder to short. The flip to second was in time for the force, but the relay throw got away, allowing Goulding to score to make it 4-0.
The Huskies got their run in the sixth. Jarvis led off with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch and then to third on a ground out. One out later, Jake Gonzalez hit an infield RBI-single.
The Broncs open a seven-game home stand at 4 p.m. Tuesday when they play host to UTSA at Edinburg Baseball Stadium.
-- UTPA Services
UTPA women lose in season finale
EDISON, N.J. – The University of Texas-Pan American Broncs women’s tennis team led on the final two courts when play ended in a 4-1 loss to the host New Jersey Institute of Technology Highlanders in the championship match of the National Invitation Tennis Tournament on Sunday at Thomas Edison Park.
The Highlanders (16-6) jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Ksenia Kuzmenko and Jana Luste beat Dana Nazarova and Reegan Greenwood 8-3 at No. 1 doubles and Monika Graff and Martina Tripcovici defeated Anastasia Burobina and Manon Lavrijssen 8-5 at No. 3. The Broncs (6-12) had a lead at No. 2, as Didi Fatchikova and Wanda Beguelin were up 7-5 on Natalia Melibeu and Carolina Zanotta when the point was clinched.
The Highlanders scored a pair of quick singles wins to take a 3-0 lead, as Kuzmenko beat Fatchikova 6-2, 6-2 at No. 1 and Graff defeated Nazarova 6-3, 6-1 at No. 2. Beguelin kept the Broncs alive with a 7-6 (7-1), 6-3 win over Tripcovici at No. 3.
At No. 4, Luste beat Lavrijssen 6-2 in the first set, but Lavrijssen forced a tiebreaker in the second set, which Luste won 7-1 to take the set 7-6 and clinch the match.
The Broncs were close to a win at No. 6 when the match ended; with Burobina leading Zanotta 5-0 in the second set after taking the first set 7-6 (7-2).
Additionally, Greenwood had a 2-1 lead over Melibeu in the third set after dropping the first set 4-6 and taking the second set 6-3.
The Broncs finish 2013 with a three-win improvement from 2012, having won six of their final 10 matches.
-- UTPA Services