After struggling in the third quarter and losing Game 1, and trailing 74-70 early in the third quarter of Game 2 of the best of three Finals, the defending NBA Development League champion and third-seeded Rio Grande Valley Vipers out scored the top-seeded Iowa Energy 34-to-10 over the next six and a half minutes to pull away and even up the best of three Finals with a 141-122 victory over the top-seeded Iowa Energy on Wednesday at Wells Fargo Arena.
The Vipers (5-2) and Energy (5-2) play a decisive Game 3 for the championship on Friday at 7:00 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena. Vipers fans can watch the game together during a watch party at Pepper�s at Uptown. The game will be televised on VERSUS, which can be found on Time Warner Cable channel 314 (SD)/1314 (HD), Dish Network channel 151 and DirecTV channel 603. The Vipers are now 6-0 all-time in elimination games.
The Vipers ran their lead up to 104-84 with 29 seconds left in the third quarter, but Moses Ehambe scored six points to fuel an 11-2 run as the Energy closed with 106-95 with 10:44 remaining in the game. Richard Roby hit a pair of free throws to break the run, Jerel McNeal followed with a three-point play, and after Ehambe hit a jumper, Roby hit a three and Patrick Sullivan converted a three-point play to put the Vipers up 117-97 and put the game out of reach. McNeal led the Vipers with 37 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Curtis Stinson recorded his second-straight triple-double for the Energy with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists. Moses Ehambe led the Energy in scoring with 33 points, 3 rebounds and 1 asistant.
The Vipers jumped out to an 8-3 in the opening three minutes thanks in-part to a pair of baskets by Sullivan. The Energy came right back to tie the game at 10-10 and the lead fluctuated back and forth for the rest of the quarter, with neither team leading by more than three points.
The Vipers were within 31-29 after a Jon Scheyer lay-up in the opening seconds of the second quarter, but Shy Ely hit back-to-back threes to put the Energy up eight. The Vipers went on a 9-2 run to pull within 39-38 at the 8:40 mark. The Vipers trailed 45-43 when they hit five of their next eight three pointers to build a 62-51 lead with 3:12 remaining. The Energy scored the next nine points, including five points on two baskets by Ehambe, to pull within 63-60.
The Vipers trailed 74-70 after Ely made a three-pointer with 7:09 remaining in the third quarter, but the Vipers went on a 22-7 run over the next 2:38