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RGV Takes First Game over Iowa, 128-117

By Iowa Wolves Staff /March 10, 2023

EDINBURG, Texas – The Rio Grande Valley Vipers took the first game over the Iowa Wolves on Thursday night in a two-game series with a 128-117 comeback win at Bert Ogden Arena.

Rio Grande Valley (14-12) erased a 10-point, third-quarter deficit as Iowa (8-18) had its two-game winning streak stopped. The game featured 20 lead changes and 13 ties.

Jaret Culver poured in a game-high 41 points off the bench for the Vipers and all five of their starters scored in double digits. 

The Wolves were led by Craig Randall II, who finished with 31 points on 11-of-21 shooting, including tying his season best with seven threes. Randall has been the team’s leading scorer in each of the past three games and has made seven threes in a game four times this season. He added eight rebounds and five assists.

Two-way Luka Garza played in his first game with Iowa since mid-January and scored 29 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Emmanuel Mudiay had 25 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Iowa’s other two-way, Matt Ryan, also making his first appearance since mid-January, was the team’s other double figure scorer with 12 points. 

Garza’s putback with 2:46 left in the third quarter put Iowa up 10, its largest lead of the game. However, RGV cut the deficit in half heading into the fourth. The teams swapped baskets early into the fourth before Culver and Trhae Mitchell made back-to-back threes that led to a Wolves’ timeout. After the timeout RGV scored five-straight before Mudiay stopped the run with an acrobatic layup.

Darius Days followed with a three that was answered by Mudiay’s own to stay within three. Consecutive turnovers by Iowa proved costly as RGV scored after each miscue and held the Wolves to just one field goal, a Randall three, the rest of the game. 

The teams will finish the series Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. CT.