Curtis Jerrells was one of the stars of this afternoon's playoff game.
Austin Toros 122, Rio Grande Valley Vipers 120 (Box Score)
The Austin Toros took the first game of this three-game series with a tough home win. This was kind of a schizophrenic game - really fun at times (like when Austin went with a five-guard lineup of Johnson-Jerrells-Williams-Gee-Basden), full of momentum-killing whistles at others. The Toros led by as many as 12 points in the second quarter, and while the Vipers eventually chipped away at the lead, they couldn't seem to string together enough good plays to take it.
Just briefly, because I mentioned the whistles, there were a lot of touch fouls in this game. While they ended up fairly even, Mike Harris was limited with early foul trouble and Antonio Anderson and Jonathan Wallace both picked up technicals complaining about calls (although I think Wallace's technical might've been meant for Anderson as well, and the ref just got the wrong guy). That is to say, RGV couldn't seem to catch a break. I still like them to win the series with the next two games being at home, but it should be a great series.
A Texas-sized stars/non-stars after the jump.
- Curtis Jerrells was named player of the game after scoring 30 points with seven rebounds and five assists. It's true that Jerrells played very well on offense, although he really struggled on defense and kind of disappeared in the fourth quarter (just two points there, both on free throws). Still, he's lightning quick when turning the corner off of a screen, and usually was able to get to the basket easily.
- Marcus Williams, on the other hand, picked his game up in the fourth quarter. Williams scored 11 points in the final frame to finish with 25, along with eight rebounds and eight assists, both of those game highs. There were a few times when Williams got burned playing help defense and leaving his man open, but that also could be chalked up to Austin's poor defensive rotations and the fact that Jerrells's man kept getting by him, necessitating the help. Williams's man defense was spotty, but he guarded Antonio Anderson fairly well in the third quarter.
- Alonzo Gee had a fairly strong game with 24 points, six rebounds and two blocks, though like Jerrells he had a rough day on the defensive end. Gee hit a couple of nice, wide-open threes, though, and was just too quick for Antonio Anderson on the perimeter.
- Will Conroy was every bit the floor leader for Rio Grande Valley. Jerrells just couldn't stop him, and Conroy was able both to score at the rim and to find open teammates. 17 points and seven assists for Conroy, and he was just really solid all game long.
- Jonathan Wallace was one of the beneficiaries of those open looks. Wallace went nuts in the second quarter, and finished with 19 points. Wallace shot 4-7 from outside and 6-9 overall, and while he didn't do much else, he was able to take advantage of being left open.
- Julian Sensley played well, particularly in the second half when he shot 5-7. Sensley finished with 15 points and added seven rebounds and two blocks.
- Less of a non-star and more of a non-factor, Mike Harris picked up three quick fouls and played just 47 seconds of the third quarter after getting hit with a fourth. I have no idea if Austin will be able to limit Harris in the next two games, because he didn't play enough to gauge that in this one.
- If you couldn't tell from my mentioning him several times already in a less-than-positive way, Antonio Anderson had a rough day on both ends of the floor. He was charged with guarding Alonzo Gee most of the time and had some problems (though he was better guarding Jerrells), then needed 13 shots to score 12 points. He finished with seven rebounds and five assists, and he had two stellar dunks where he blew by his defender then seemed to keep rising even as he dunked the ball, but overall this wasn't his sharpest game.
- I need a third, so how about Ernest Scott? Scott played 14 minutes and shot 1-4, all from three-point range. A block and two fouls round out his contributions for the game.