Bighorns rally but come up short
RENO, Nev.- Despite a dominant fourth-quarter effort for Reno, Rio Grande Valley used a 40-point performance by Jerel McNeal to top the Bighorns 126-122 Saturday night in the Reno Events Center.
Reno (7-2) trailed by 16 at intermission and by 17 through three quarters. But the Bighorns would claw back in the final period, carving the deficit down to a single possession, 125-122, with just 12 seconds remaining. Vipers center Patrick Patterson knocked down 1-of-2 free-throw tries in the closing seconds, though, to give Rio Grande Valley (5-4) the win and a weekend series split.
The loss snaps an 11-game regular season home winning streak for the Bighorns, dating back to last season.
McNeal led all scorers with 40 points, hitting 17-of-18 free-throw attempts on the night. Patterson, on NBA assignment from the Houston Rockets, recorded a double-double with 23 points and 14 rebounds.
One night removed from a triple-double, Patrick Ewing, Jr. paced the Bighorns with 24 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots. Aaron Miles hit all 11 of his tries from the charity stripe en route to 23 points and 10 assists. Hassan Whiteside, sent to Reno on an NBA assignment from the Sacramento Kings, finished with 12 points, seven rebounds and eight blocks in 29 minutes of action off the bench.
Reno now hits the road for three-straight, beginning with a two-game series against the New Mexico Thunderbirds in Albuquerque. The Bighorns and ‘T-Birds will hook-up Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. PST in the Santa Ana Star Center.
The Bighorns return home on Tuesday, Dec. 28 against the Tulsa 66ers. Tip-time is set for 7 p.m. PST. Tickets are on-sale now.
Reno Bighorns group tickets and fan experience packages are on sale now by calling the Bighorns front office at (775) 284-2NBA or visiting RenoBighorns.com. Fans can high-five the players, play a game-before-the-game on the Bighorns court, perform a talent routine and more.