The South Bay Lakers nearly overcame a 25-point deficit in a furious fourth quarter rally, but ultimately fell to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, 133-129, on Saturday night. David Stockton led South Bay (4-4) with a season-high 30 points, 10 assists and four steals. Jaron Blossomgame led the Vipers (2-8) to their second win of the season with 22 points and 11 rebounds.
The first quarter was a back-and-forth affair with the home team taking the early 28-27 edge behind nine points from Angel Rodriguez. The Vipers took control in the second quarter, grabbing a 68-49 halftime lead as Blossomgame scored 12 and Kerwin Roach added 10 points in the frame. Devontae Cacok provided a bright spot for South Bay in the first half with 10 points and eight rebounds.
Rio Grande Valley continued to control the game in the third quarter, gaining a 102-84 advantage going into the final period behind 12 third-quarter points from Ray Spalding. The Lakers made it close in the fourth quarter behind 16 points from Gary Payton II and 14 points from Reggie Hearn, but they ran out of time and were unable to complete the rally.
Blossomgame’s double-double paced the Vipers and Rodriguez scored a team-high 25 points. Spalding (24 points), Roach (22 points) and Brandon Sampson (21 points) all reached the 20-point mark and Jarred Vanderbilt finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds off the bench.
Stockton’s second double-double of the season led the Lakers and Payton II added 26 points, eight rebounds, five assists, three steals and one block. Hearn found a rhythm and finished the night with 19 points (5-6 3FG) and Zach Norvell Jr. scored 18 points off the bench. Kostas Antetokounmpo (10 points) and Cacok (10 points, eight rebounds) also scored in double figures for the Lakers.
South Bay now returns home to host the Grand Rapids Drive on Wednesday, December 4 at 7:00pm from the UCLA Health Training Center.