HIDALGO -- The defending NBA Development League champion Rio Grande Valley Vipers fell to the Idaho Stampede 115-92 on Wednesday at State Farm Arena in front of a sellout crowd of 5,605, bringing the Vipers’ season attendance total to 104,755 on the season.
The Vipers also pass the Iowa Energy for first place in the NBA Development League in attendance. The Energy do not have any home games left. The Vipers, who are averaging a league-best and franchise-record 4,762 fans per game this season, have two home games remaining. It is the second year in a row that the Vipers have broken the 100,000 mark in total attendance. The Vipers welcomed 113,077 fans through the doors during the regular season last year, an average of 4,712 per game.
“We can’t thank our fans enough for the incredible support that they show night after night. To not only lead the league in attendance two years in a row, but show an increase as well, is a testament to the success of the team both on and off the court,” Vipers President Bert Garcia said.
The Vipers (30-16) jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the opening 2:23 on baskets by Jon Scheyer, Mouhammad Faye and Jerel McNeal. The Stampede (20-25) scored the next six points to take a 9-8 lead just over one minute later, but the Vipers followed with a 14-2 run to take a 21-10 lead when Scheyer nailed a three-pointer with 5:30 remaining in the first quarter.
The Vipers led throughout most of the rest of the first half, but the Stampede went on a 20-4 run over the final 6:50 of the second quarter to take a 48-45 lead.
The Stampede scored the first eight points of the third quarter thanks in-part to a three-pointer and a jumper from Antoine Walker. McNeal hit a three-pointer at the 8:26 mark, but Tony Bobbitt hit back-to-back three-pointers to give the Stampede a 64-48 lead with 7:45 remaining.
Bobbitt finished 8-for-10 from behind the arc while scoring a team-high 26 points to go with eight rebounds. Walker recorded his second-straight double-double with 24 points and 13 rebounds.
The Vipers pulled within 86-77 on a McNeal three-pointer with 8:39 left in the fourth quarter, but Walker hit a pair of baskets as the Stampede went on a 9-0 run to take a 95-77 lead and put the game out of reach.
McNeal led the Vipers with a game-high 29 points.
The Vipers return to action on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. when they face the Tulsa 66ers at the Tulsa Convention Center. With a win, the Vipers will clinch the season series and the tiebreaker with the 66ers should they finish tied in the Western Conference standings.