Albuquerque guard Will Conroy, the D-League’s leading scorer, tallied a game high 25 points and dished out 10 assists in the Thunderbirds 116-105 victory over the Rio Grande Valley Vipers Saturday night at Dodge Arena. The Thunderbirds led the game by as many as 26 points en-route to just their third victory of the season. Rio Grande Valley lost their first game of 2009 and fell to 7-9 on the season. The Thunderbirds dominated the glass by outrebounding the Vipers 47-31.
The Thunderbirds scored at a frantic first half pace and did not let up. Cory Underwood’s jump hook with 4:40 remaining in the second quarter capped off a 10-2 run and gave the T-birds a 45-35 lead. The Vipers would not get within eight points the rest of the game as the Thunderbirds continued to put the offensive pressure on into the third quarter where they outscored RGV 32-26 and led 93-73 going into the final period.
All five starters and scored in double figures and forwards David Monds and David Noel hauled in double-doubles to help in the Thunderbirds victory. Monds scored 21 and brought down 13 boards, while Noel dropped in 21 points and 11 rebounds. Cory Underwood added 19 points shooting 8/10 from the field.
Smush Parker scored 18 points and dished out five assists to lead the Vipers in the defeat. Quin Humphrey and Alpha Bangura each chipped with 14. Houston Rockets assignee Joey Dorsey played 27 minutes and scored 11 points and tallied six rebounds in the Viper loss.
The Vipers and Thunderbirds will both travel to the D-League Showcase in Orem, Utah. The Vipers will face the expansion Reno Bighorns on Monday night at 8:15 pm CST. The Thunderbirds face the Sioux Falls Skyforce at 11:00 AM MST on Monday.