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Jarrett Culver was called for an offensive foul with 15.5 seconds remaining in regulation, a controversial call officials reviewed and confirmed, and Trey Burke scored on driving layup as Mexico City held on to defeat the RGV Vipers 111-109 Thursday at Bert Ogden Arena.
Jarrett Culver and Darius Days each tallied a double-double and Joshua Obiese scored 12 points off the bench for the Vipers. Culver finished with 34 points and 10 rebounds while Days added 20 points, 13 rebounds and three steals despite shooting 7-of-22 from the field. Culver connected on 15-of-23 shots. The Texas Tech product also had 11 rebounds, a team-high four assists, four steals and three blocked shots.
The Vipers return to action against Mexico City again at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Bert Ogden Arena. It is the final of a six-game homestand.
The Vipers fell to 5-3 on the season and 3-2 during their six-game homestand. It was also their second consecutive game with their “second” unit playing most of the contest after the Houston Rockets called up four starters on Monday.
Darius Days’ basket with 5:04 remaining gave RGV their biggest lead of the game at 107-102. Fouls were aplenty during the contest. One Capitanes player fouled out, one had five fouls and two others had four. Meanwhile the Days and Trhae Mitchell both played several minutes with five fouls and two other committed four.
After trailing most of the game since near the end of the first quarter, Shawn Occeus gave the Vipers a 96-95 lead with a 3-pointer and 8:46 left in regulation.
Culver again scored on a fast-break and pass from Trhae Mitchell and converted it into a three-point plat and a 100-97 advantage, tying the Vipers biggest lead of the game, back in the first quarter.
Three Vipers’ turnovers to start the first half, including the fourth foul on Jalen Lecque helped give the visitors a 68-61 advantage early in the third period.
Darius Days hit his first 3-pointer of the game with 8:25 remaining in the third. Up to then he had been 0-4 from that range on the night and 2-for-16 over the past two games. That made the score 71-66 in the Capitanes favor. Days scored on a post-up play and closed the gap more, 71-68.
Three minutes later, Alexy Borges knocked down his third 3-pointer and Mexico City held its largest lead at 84-70. But the Vipers rallied again. Jarrett Culver’s third steal and breakaway dunk brought them to within 87-78. His second 3-pointer closed it to 89-83 and Mexico City led 91-85 after three.
Mexico City held a 45-38 lead when the Vipers responded with a 7-0 run and tied it with 6:18 remaining in the second period. Culver hit a 3-pointer, Josh Reaves connected on a fadeaway in the lenand Days scored on a drive to the basket for the eighth tie of the first half.
Spalding was called for his fourth foul with 4:30 remaining in the half and RGV trailing 51-47. The teams went into the half with RGV trailing 62-61. Culver led the team in scoring with 17 and Lecque added 14. Meanwhile, Days had nine points and five rebounds at the break.
The first quarter was a back-and-forth affair as the teams traded baskets and the lead five times and four ties in the period. Spalding picked up his third foul with 1:31 remaining in the quarter and RGV leading 25-22. The Capitanes led 30-29 after one period, just the second time in seven games the Vipers were behind after the first 12 minutes.
RGV shot 55% during the first period but was 0-for-3 from 3-point land and Days continued to struggle to find hi touch from that distance, going 0-for-2 after a 2-for 14 performance from deep Tuesday against the Texas Legends. The Vipers didn’t connect on their first three pointer until Joshua Obiesie converted with 11:30 remaining in the half.