The Toros have some talent, but other than Dwayne Jones that talent is pretty inexperienced. Hence, upon Malik Hairston getting called back up to the Spurs, Austin blows an (albeit slight) lead they had by scoring just 11 points in the fourth quarter, including scoreless stretches of four minutes and the last three and a half minutes of the game.
Jones played well for the Toros, finishing with 29 points and 13 rebounds, shooting 11-13 from the free throw line and holding Joey Dorsey to just 10 points on 2-6 shooting and zero offensive boards. But even though Curtis Jerrells (21 points, nine assists) and Alonzo Gee (20 points, 11 rebounds) finished with decent numbers, there were too many fadeaway jumpers and threes taken in the fourth quarter, when this is not a good three-point shooting team. Lewis Clinch and Russell Carter played pretty poorly in that frame as well, and in fact, between Clinch and David McClure, Austin got zero points from two of its starters. This team will get there eventually, but after losing some of its top talent from last season, expect some bumps in the road.
Dorsey may not have rebounded as well as he normally does (he did grab eight defensive boards), but the Vipers got solid rebounding contributions all around, with five players getting six or more. Mike Harris missed all four of his foul shots but was good from pretty much everywhere else, shooting 5-8 behind the arc and 11-20 overall for 27 points, plus seven rebounds. Sometimes it doesn't matter what you do but when you do it, and eight of Antonio Anderson's 14 free throws came in the fourth, helping to give him 28 points to go with seven rebounds and six assists. This win allows Rio Grande Valley to keep pace with the Flash and the Stampede at the top of the West Conference, and they have just two games between now and the 18th, giving them time to rest up and work on maybe getting some more bench contributions (just eight points yesterday).