Mad Ants drop first game at D-League Showcase

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – The Rio Grande Valley Vipers (11-8) defeated the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (11-8) by a score of 111-99 on Thursday in the first game of the second day at the NBA Development League Showcase in Santa Cruz, CA.

Fresh off a career-high 33 points and 21 rebounds in the Vipers’ last game against Reno on Jan. 4, Raphiael Putney set a new career high with 38 points to go along with 18 rebounds on 14-of-22 shooting (64 percent) and 6-of-11 (55 percent) from three-point range.

Putney got rolling early, pouring in four of his six three-pointers in the opening quarter for 12 first-quarter points while Indiana Pacers assignee’ Rakeem Christmas and Xavier Thames added six points apiece for the Mad Ants as the teams headed to the second quarter even at 27.

It was more Putney in the second frame to give Rio Grande Valley a 59-46 advantage at the half, adding 13 points on six-of-seven (86 percent) shooting in the quarter for 25 first-half points. Walter Lemon Jr. led the first-half charge for Fort Wayne with 10 points on four-of-six (67 percent) shooting off the bench.

CJ Fair played all 12 minutes in the third quarter and finished with nine points in the quarter on four-of-five (80 percent) shooting as the Mad Ants headed to the fourth trailing 84-71.

The Vipers shot 54 percent (7-of-13) from the field and 80 percent (12-of-15) from the foul line to close out the game in the fourth quarter to secure the 111-99 victory.

Will Cummings added 24 points on 7-of-11 (74 percent) shooting from the field for the Vipers and Chris Walker added 14 points and eight rebounds off the bench.

Fair finished with a team-high 19 points on 9-of-14 (64 percent) shooting off the bench for Fort Wayne while Indiana Pacers assignee’ Shayne Whittington had 12-point, 10-rebound double-double.

Fort Wayne will play their final game of the D-League Showcase on Saturday, Jan. 9 at 3:30 p.m. ET against the Idaho Stampede (6-15) live on NBA TV. The Vipers’ next game will also be their final game of the Showcase as they face off against Raptors 905 (5-14) on Saturday, Jan. 9 at 8 p.m. ET.

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