Rio Grande Valley Vipers Slide Past Fort Wayne Mad Ants
The Fort Wayne Mad Ants lost Friday night as the Rio Grande Valley Vipers won by a final score of 118-112. Andre Emmett, who has been on fire for the past few games, was the leading scorer for the Mad Ants with 21 points. Erick Green, one of the talented new additions to the squad, was the second leading scorer with 20 points and 4 assists. Gary Talton, who is a former Viper, seemed determined to dominate his homecoming, but only shot 6 for 17 from the field. However, he played his role as the point guard and led the team with 10 assists.
In the first quarter, the offenses on both teams were somewhat sluggish. The Mad Ants struggled to score in the paint early on, so they resorted to jump shots and contested floaters. Eventually, Emmett and Talton’s jumpers started to fall into the net, but so did the Vipers shots. Isaiah Canaan, one of the hot NBA prospects who played for the Houston Rockets last season, had his mind set on displaying his top-tier speed and shooting ability. Canaan could not get into a rhythm offensively to start, but University of Arizona alumnus Nick Johnson picked up the slack, shooting from everywhere on the floor.
By the second quarter, the Mad Ants started clicking more on offense. Emmett continued to score and make his free throws, while CJ Fair offered a much needed spark off of the bench. Fair’s mid-range jump shot has significantly improved and forced the Viper’s defense to guard someone other than Emmett. Ramon Harris joined the party shooting from long range, and Erick Green continued his shooting streak. By halftime, the Mad Ants outscored the Vipers 62-50.
The second half was a different story for the Vipers Isaiah Canaan came out of the locker room firing from the three point line. Nick Johnson had gained some confidence from the first half and continued to score whenever he wanted. He finished with 22 points and crashed the boards with 10 rebounds. The Viper’s center Clint Capela came to life in the third quarter, scoring 19 points overall and also grabbing 10 rebounds. He was their most accurate scorer per attempts at 9 for 12. Despite the Viper’s scoring run, the Mad Ants went stride for stride. CJ Fair kept up his consistent play and Talton regained his bearings to make 5 three pointers out of 8 attempts.
Neither team played great defense, but the Vipers had seven blocks opposed to the Mad Ants four blocks. Forward Travis Hyman was responsible for three of those four blocks, while the Vipers had six players with at least one block. Also, the Vipers out-rebounded the Mad Ants 49 to 34 respectively, with most of the Vipers rebounds being on the defensive end of the court. The Mad Ants have not beaten teams with a strong defense this season, despite their offensive firepower and team play. The Vipers are very similar in that regard and the high score shows this fact. The Vipers have reached .500 with this win, but are still at the bottom of the Southwest division at 12-12. Fort Wayne is now 16-11 and are atop the Central division with the fourth best record in the NBA D-League.
By Joshua Hamer