DES MOINES, Iowa – Mike Harris may not have started in his return to the Rio Grande Valley line-up, but he made his return to the squad count. Harris tallied a double-double by scoring 27 points and hauling in 12 rebounds at the Vipers knocked off the Eastern Conference leading Iowa Energy 109-100 Saturday night at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium. The loss was the first at home all season for the Energy.
The Vipers got out a strong first half start by scoring the first eight points of the game. Rio Grande Valley led by nine at the end of the first stanza 30-21. The second quarter was more of the same for Rio Grande Valley. The Vipers pushed the lead to as many as 16 and led by 11 at the end of the first 24 minutes 59-47. Garret Temple scored 16 first half points, including four three pointers to help lead the Viper charge.
Iowa Head Coach Nick Nurse, who is Viper Head Coach Chris Finch’s assistant for the British National team, rallied his troops in the third quarter. After the Vipers began the quarter on a 9-4 lead to push the lead to 17, The Energy rallied by going on a 15-0 run, led by Pat Carroll’s seven points on the charge and trailed 68-64. With 1:34 remaining in the third quarter Sean Barnette’s three pointer gave Iowa their first lead of the game. Iowa lead 79-76 going into the final period.
The Vipers rallied behind Harris who scored 13 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter. After falling behind by seven with 9:27 remaining in the game, the Vipers proceeded on a 13-2 run to give the Vipers a 91-87 lead with just over five minutes remaining. It was a lead they did not relinquish. The Vipers outscored Iowa 33-21 in the final frame to earn their fifth road win of the season.
Harris led five double-digit Viper scorers with his 27. His double-double was his third of the season. Temple finished the game with 21, with four assists. Meanwhile reigning D-League Player of the Month Antonio Anderson finished two rebounds shy of a triple double as he scored 14, while dishing out a game-high 11 assists. Will Conroy added 14 points and nine assists, and Houston assignee Joey Dorsey scored only 7 while hauling in 11 boards.
Carroll’s 29 points lead all scorers as he led the Iowa charge. He hit 12 of his 17 shots, including four three pointers. Curtis Stinson finished the game two rebounds, and two assists shy of his second straight triple-double as he scored 16. Former Viper Jeff Trepagnier struggled with his shot as he hit just three of his 12 shots scoring only nine points.
The Vipers and Energy will square off again on Sunday night. The venue will shift however, as they will move to the normal Iowa home building, the Wells Fargo Arena. Tip-off for Sunday’s match-up is scheduled for 6:00pm CST.