"font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT;">TULSA, Okla.

"font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT;"> The defending NBA Development

League champion Rio Grande Valley Vipers moved into first place in

the Western Conference standings and lowered their magic number to

clinch home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs to

one with a 100-94 victory over the Tulsa 66ers on Saturday at the

Tulsa Convention Center.

"font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT;">The Vipers (31-16) are tied with

the Reno Bighorns (31-16), who beat the Sioux Falls Skyforce 97-82,

atop the Western Conference standings.

"font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT;">The Vipers scored the first nine

points of the second quarter, going on an 11-1 run to take a 40-30

lead after Mouhammad Faye hit his third basket of

the run. Faye hit two three-pointers a jumper in the opening


"font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT;">Faye scored 20 points on 8-of-15

shooting (4-for-8 from behind the arc). Jerel

McNeal led the Vipers in scoring with 22 points, hitting

8-of-15 shots.

"font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT;">The Vipers jumped out to a 66-52

lead at the 9:16 mark of the third quarter when Houston

Rockets-assignee Hasheem Thabeet hit a lay-up, but

the 66ers (31-17) went on a 12-0 run to pull within 66-64. The

Vipers were held scoreless for 6:04, when Jon

Scheyer hit a three-pointer. That sparked a 12-4 run for

the Vipers to close the quarter, punctuated by a two-handed slam by


"font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT;">Thabeet finished with his first

double-double, scoring 14 points with 12 rebounds (seven

offensive), three blocks and four steals.

"font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT;">The 66ers hit their first 23 free

throws in a row and Elijah Milsap hit his first

nine, before missing two-straight at the front end of three free

throws with 5:12 remaining in the fourth quarter. The 66ers

finished 28-for-30, Milsap was 10-for-12 while scoring 14 points.

Oklahoma City Thunder-assignee Byron Mullens

scored a team-high 18 points with a team-high eight


"font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT;">The Vipers play their final

regular season road game on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. when they face the

Texas Legends at Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco.

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