Rio Grande Valley Vipers Defeat Halcones UV Xalapa 118-116 In Preseason Matchup

Alex Del Barrio, affectionately known around here as "ADB" AKA "The Voice of the Vipers" AKA The Booty Man, was on hand for the first game of the D-League preseason and contributed quite a bit. I moved the recap to the top, but his thoughts throughout the game can be found after the jump. Read/watch it all.  -- Scott

Rio Grande Valley Vipers 118, Halcones UV Xalapa 116 (Box Score)

I think the Rio Grande Valley Vipers have a few guys that proved their worth tonight.

  • Richard Roby needs to keep the Turnovers down, but he gets to the free throw line (6/8) and is very long on defense. 
  • Patrick Sullivan Terrel Harris, Jerel, McNeal, and of course Mustafa Shakur should all be safe. Who gets the minutes at back-up point is intriguing. Harris likes to have the ball in his hand, but is more a 2/3 wing player. 
  • Isaiah Swann may have the lead off the bench right now. In 11 minutes Swann has 10 points, four boards, and four dimes. He also had five fouls, however, which is something he'll have to control.
  • Jordan Eglseder has been hurt, I hear. He played well, but not great, with just four points and three boards in 14 minutes. He's a big body in the middle, but the up-tempo play of the Vipers may not fit his game. 
  • The Vipers turned the ball over 27 times - It was an uptempo game, but 27 giveaways is not good. Granted there were a lot of players who won't be here in a couple days playing big minutes, but that is still too many.

At first glance, the Vipers can score, but have a lot of young players making rookie mistakes. As for the defending Mexican League Champions, they should have no problem winning another ring. They can shoot, rebound, and pass and would probably be an above average D-League team for sure. 

That's it from the UTPA Fieldhouse. Here is Jonah Goldberg's recap.

The entire live blog is after the jump.

WELCOME EVERYONE TO THE UTPA FIELDHOUSE (In my best Vince McMahon voice)!! Tonight the Rio Grande Valley Vipers take on the Halcones UV Xalapa of the Mexican league at the University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg, home of the UT-PA BRONCS.

Since there is no Futurecast, radio broadcast, or any other cast of this game, Ridiculous Upside is your home for the live blog of tonight's NBA D-League pre-season opener. ADB (Voice of the Vipers) has you covered tonight, with updates throughout the game. You can also get the live stats here

By the way, the Broncs are showing off their new building tonight. Well, actually it's an old building, but it did get a pretty sweet facelift during the summer, complete with a new floor and new bleachers. 

It's Champion vs. Champion tonight, and although this particular match-up isn't as well publciized as this Champion vs. Champion match-up, I think it has some potential. The Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the NBA  Development League Champions of 2009-10 face off against the Halcones (or Falcons, for you non espanol speakers). The Halcones just happen to be the 4-time defending champions of the Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Professional in Mexico. (Try to say that three times fast)

We aren't used to seeing D-League teams play teams from other leagues, so this will be a nice change of pace, one I hope other D-League teams decide to consider. 

After the jump, I will give you a little preview of both teams. If you want to check out Jonah Goldberg's preview and the game notes for tonight, check em out here.

Rio Grande Valley

A lot of new faces on the defending champions, meaning the ring ceremony may be a little short come November 18th. Only three players on the roster played in a game for the Vipers last season and only one played significant minutes during the playoffs. Stanley Asumnu, AKA the Future Mayor of McAllen, TX, is now a fourth year Viper - I think he is getting into retired number territory. Asumnu has been a huge energy guy for the Vipers and has played signficant minutes in different waves of the last three years, especially when the Vipers have been victim to call-ups and overseason defections. 

The other returnees are center Mickell Gladness, who played in 41 games for Vipers (4.1ppg,  3.1rpg, 1.3bpg) and guard/forward Terrel Harris who was not on the final roster last year after suffering an injury during the first round playoff series with the Reno Bighorns.

The Vipers are only going to get stronger as Houston's 14th Overall Selection Patrick Patterson will be at Vipers practice tomorrow. I am also excited to see Richard Roby play. Plus(!) let's not forget my favorite non-Viper point guardfrom last season, Mustafa Shakur. Here is the rest of the Vipers training camp roster

Los Halcones

Don't know much about them except that they are the Lakers of the Mexican League. Believe it or not they have to familiar faces to RGV basketball fans, they added Maurice Carter, who had stints with both of RGV's pro basketball teams including a 14 game stint with the Vipers in 2008-09.

Also in Los Haclones line-up is Paul Stoll, a former UTPA Bronc. He had been on another team in Mexico and joins Halcones tonight. He was one of the best point guards in UTPA history, including finishing second in the nation in assists in 2007-08. One of the hardest working players I have ever met, I'm glad to see him still getting to hoop it up.

Point Guard Leandro Garcia-Morales is their leading scorer. Garcia-Morales played a couple years at Texas A&M and is also on the Urugayan National team. He is averaging 21 points and three boards a game. Here are the rest of the stats for Los Halcones.

This game probably means a lot more to Los Halcones, especially with the Vipers needing to make roster moves soon. Expect a ton of different line-ups from the Vipers. 

I will update in the blog, but I welcome comments too..

PRE GAME

I gotta say, Los Halcones have a pretty sweet logo. As you would expect, a ton of sponsors on the uniforms, including a pretty popular "cerveza" on both sides of the shorts. 

Vipers are wearing their practice unis, but are also wearing their shooting shirts. If you recall the Vipers will be sporting a sponsor logo on the front of their game jerseys this year.

Starters are in. For the Vipers

PG - Mustafa Shakur SG - Terrel Harris SF - Jerel McNeal PF - Patrick Sullivan C - Mickell Gladness

For Los Halcones PG - Orlando Mendez-Valdez SG - Leandro Garcia-Morales SF - Jesse Pellot PF -Santiago Aguirre C- Adam Parada

Nice touch whenever a Mexican team comes this way, both the Mexican and US national anthems were sung. 

Both teams also shook hands at center court, they also presented los Halcones with a Vipers T-shirt. Good Form Vipers, Good Form.

1ST QUARTER

- Tip won by los Haclones and we are underway! .. turnover on a bad pass, Vipers get their first possession.. turnover by Shakur leads to free-throws on the other end.. Gladness with the foul for RGV.. One free thorw good by Pellot. Nice drive to the hoop by Harris off the miss, count the basket and one 2-1 Vipers 11:00 left in 1st

- Gladness with a nice dunk underneath. He was in Miami Heat camp and summer league, Very raw talent with a lot of upside, but not sure it is quite ridiculous upside. Chris Finch told me they are looking for him to take that next step of development.

- Shakur hits a three, but the Vipers give up a bucket in transition. 8-4 Vipers 9:45 remaining

- Sloppy start to this game, a lot fo turnovers in the early moments. Patrick Sullivan hit a nice turnaround to give RGV the 10-4 lead.  I think the Rockets would hope he bulks up a little bit. BTW Vipers GM and Rockets VP Gersson Rosas is here. Crowd is still trickling in. They are so not into the game though. Hopefully that will change. 

- 18-11 Vipers at the first media timeout. Shakur with 8 points on 3/4 shooting. .

- 22-19 now.. BTW the former UTPA Bronc Paul Stoll has checked in for los Halcones. Nice pass by Stoll to Noe Alonzo sets up an and-1. We are tied at 22. Adrian Zamora scores to give Halcones a 24-22 lead. 13-4 run by the defending Mexican league champs.

- Vipers now on a 6-0 run to regain the lead at 27-24. Timeout on the floor with 2:01 remaining in the quarter. 27-24 with the Vipers leading. Los Halcones can shoot. I'm not sure if the stats are accurate. so I'll just have you take my word for it. Garcia-Morales picked up his second foul and is now on the bench. 

- THE Alonzo Cantu is now in the building. The Vipers majority owner is a big reason this team has become so successful in just three seasons. Glad to see him here. BTW Noe Alonzo, no relation hit a three with a hand in his grill to cut the deficit to one. 

- End of the first quarter 32-29 , Rio Grande Valley leading. Here come the Snake Charmers.

2ND QUARTER

Thanks to the folks that have just added me on Twitter! 

- We have our first Stanley Asumnu appearance. 6-0 run by Vipers to start, they now lead 38-29. Richard Roby with four points. Pellot ends the run with a three 38-32 RGV. 

- 10-0 run by Veracruz they lead 39-38. Mo Carter had a sweet and-1. Cripe with a tip-in to end los Halcones streak. I think we should put a D-League team in Mexico maybe 2, and 2 more in Canada.

- Richard Roby with a one handed posterizing slam! Definitely D-League dunk contest worth. Sorry Dar Tucker.

- 6:17 left until halftime and the Vipers lead 44-43. The Vipers are trying a ton of different combinations. Roby is a fun player to watch. I heard a lot of good things about him from Vipers Assistant Coach Jai Steadman. No one in double figures for RGV. Jerel McNeal and Shakur each have eight. Pellot leads for Veracruz with 15.

- 5:04 remaining tied at 46. More athleticism from the Vipers, but more in-tune play from los Halcones. Well their season started in August, so that is to be expected.

A SPECTACULAR MOVE, by Garcia-Morales! Ok so it wasn't Jordanesque, but his three point play gave them a 51-50 lead. Tony Forina the PA guy just called Mo Carter, Mauricio. He I guess it works.

- Patrick Sullivan with a REJECTION of Alonzo, then comes back on the other end to finish with a flush. 55-54 Vipers gain the lead again on McNeal's bucket.

- Not for long Adrian Zamora with a tip to make it 56-55. They keep trading leads! I can't keep up. Ok now we get a time out Vipers lead 57-56. Now to fill the time... Ladies and Gentleman, Mr. Conway Twitty.

- At the timeout Sullivan playing well, 11 points and six boards and a block.

- :32 remaining Halcones ball down 67-59.  Miss by Garcia-Morales who either has one foul or four fouls, depending on who you ask.

- Shakur with a bucket, thanks to a goaltending call against Los Halcones. It is halftime now 69-59 Vipers lead. RGV closes out the half on a 12-3 run. 

THIRD QUARTER

- Second half underway. Vipers starting to pull away a little bit.  They lead 77-62.

- Griffin with a nice fake, drive and flush. Ok who is this guy and what did he do with Mo Carter? Carter has the last two buckets and now has 15 points.

- Halcones on a 14-2 run and now trail only by three. Lots of fouls in the quarter. Isaiah Swan picked up his third for RGV.

- Pellot FROM DOWNTOWN. He now has 21 points with his fourth trifecta of the game to tie the game at 81. Why isn't this guy in the D-League?

- Inside the Numbers. Veracruz is 9/18 50% from 3 point range, the Vipers are 5/14 36%.

- Richard Roby may be my new favorite Viper. He is long, athletic, and can shoot. I think he will be a huge impact player for RGV. I don't see anyway he doesn't make the team. 

- Alonzo hits another three for los Halcones. Vipers only lead by two 91-89. Yes we are still in the third.  Veracruz is staying in this game with their outside shooting. 

END OF THIRD QUARTER - Vipers lead 95-91

Pellot has 27 for Veracruz. Carter with 20 off the bench. Noe Alozno with 14

For the Vipers" Shakur, who has only played 13+ minutes has 14, two dimes, and three turnovers. Roby off the bench has 13. Patrick Sullivan has 11 with seven boards.

FOURTH QUARTER

- Alonzo has another three for los Halcones. They are first to 100 as they lead 102-99. Back-to-back threes from Alonzo, they lead 105-101. 

- We hit the first media with 5:51 remaining, los Halcones lead 107-105. I know this is a D-League blog, but I am impressed with Noe Alonzo. He is about 6-7 and can shoot the lights out. 7/11 from the field 5/7 from downtown a perfect 4/4 from the foul line. I think he makes more money in Mexico, but I would sign him. 

- We have an entertaining finish coming up. We hit the final media and we are tied at 111. 

- I don't want to criticize the officials so I won't.

- Derrick Roland hit a long two... Vipers lead 113-111 with less than a minute to go

- Steal, then another steal, then yes another steal. Sloppy end to the game 13.5 remaining Vipers ball up by two. 113-11.

- Garcia-Morales fouls Clevin Hannah. He hits em both. 12.2 remaining Vipers lead 115-111.

- Stoll hits two free throws to make it 115-113.

- David Potter just added two FT to make it 117-113. 

- Pellot drains another deep one, his fifth three. He now has 32. 117-116. 1.6 to go Vipers up 1. 

- Gladness is fouled with .5 left. hits the first FT 118-116 Vipers.

- GAME OVER  Vipers win 118-116. This game was VERY entertaining. Kudos to los Halcones. I think they are poised to have a great rest of the year.

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