Shooting woes put Bighorns one game behind Vipers |

Shooting woes put Bighorns one game behind Vipers

RENO – Despite a dominant 20-20 effort inside from Rod Benson, struggles at the foul line and beyond the three-point arc sent the Reno Bighorns to a 110-94 loss to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the first round of the NBA D-League Playoffs on Saturday afternoon in the Reno Events Center.

With the win, Rio Grande Valley takes a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three opening round. The series will now move to Texas for game two and, if necessary, game three.

The Bighorns finished the day shooting 13.8 percent (4 for 29) from three-point range and 67.9 percent (36 for 53) from the foul line. Reno turned the basketball over 24 times, though the Bighorns did manage to outrebound the Vipers 54-40.

The loss spoiled a career-day for Benson, who recorded 22 points, 20 rebounds and two blocked shots. D.J. Strawberry added 19 points and four assists off the bench, Doug Thomas hit all five of his tries from the floor en route to 14 points and Will Blalock dished out seven assists.

Jonathan Wallace paced the Vipers with 22 points. Will Conroy collected 17 points and 11 assists, while Antonio Anderson recorded 19 points and 10 assists of his own.

The Bighorns led by eight points after one period of play, but from that point forward the game belonged to Rio Grande Valley. Reno trailed by just a bucket entering the final quarter of play, but the Vipers outscored the Bighorns 29-15 in the fourth to cruise to the victory.

The Bighorns and Vipers will now move forward to game two of the series on Monday night. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. in Dodge Arena. The game can be seen live on Versus, and the brand-new Freight House District will play host to a live Bighorns’ Watch Party on Monday night.

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