SANTA CRUZ, CA. Jan. 16, 2015 – The Rio Grande Valley Vipers held off a late rally by the Erie BayHawks to secure a 105-98 victory at the NBA D-League Showcase presented by Samsung.
Christapher Johnson scored a team-high 21 points on 7-for-13 shooting, 13 of which came in the second half as the BayHawks marched toward a late comeback. Tony Bishop came off the bench and recorded 17 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals. Bishop’s 12 points in the first half helped spark Rio Grande Valley in the second quarter, where they outscored Erie 27-15, carrying a 54-40 lead at halftime.
The Vipers were able to limit Seth Curry, who entered the game as the D-League’s leading scorer with 26.1 ppg, to just 14 points on 4-of-16 shooting. Curry would get going in the fourth quarter as Erie began to chip away at a deficit that was as large as 22 at 86-64 in the final seconds of the third quarter.
Rio Grande Valley exemplified some timely defense throughout, notching 12 blocks as a team. When the BayHawks moved within five points at 100-95, Akil Mitchell helped keep the lead in tact with a block of Kadeem Batts and a strip on the following possession. The defense proved critical as they struggled to put the game away at the free-throw line, shooting 6-for-11 in the fourth quarter and 28-of-43 for the game. Erie experienced their own free-throw shooting woes, connecting on only 10-of-21 attempts.
Peyton Siva led the way for Erie with a season-high 25 points on 9-for-18 shooting, including 6-of-10 attempts that came from three-point range. Siva also tallied nine assists, giving him a total of 130 on the season and leaving him sixth in the D-League with 7.6 apg.
Rio Grande Valley and Erie will both return to action on Sunday, Jan. 19. Erie will take on the Iowa Energy at 12:45 p.m. PT and Rio Grande Valley will play in the nightcap at 7 p.m. PT versus the Reno Bighorns.