ORLANDO, Feb. 21, 2021 – The Oklahoma City Blue (6-1) beat the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (3-5), 125-114, on Sunday. Thunder assignment player Aleksej Pokuševski scored a career-high 19 points and pulled down 10 boards for his first double-double while dishing out four assists.
The first quarter consisted of balanced play from both teams as Zavier Simpson set the pace, knocking down 5-of-7 shots to score 12 points in the first quarter and give the Blue a 14-point lead. The Vipers made six three-pointers to outscore the Blue 27-12 the rest of the frame and take a one-point lead into the second quarter.
“Credit to RGV, they put you in some tough situations with the way they play, and we were just trying to weather those storms,” Head Coach Grant Gibbs said. “I thought, individually and as a team, we did a good job of playing through stretches where they made shots, where they made us uncomfortable, and then just tried to be great at the rim. I thought our size was really good, the rebounding was really positive, but more than anything, just the guys playing through those tough stretches and weathering the storms.”
In a game of runs, The Blue responded late in the second, going on a 17-7 run to take a 10-point lead into the half. Pokuševski led the run, scoring nine of his 19 points in the second quarter. Simpson led all scorers with 18 points at the break. Oklahoma City continued to control the interior as its lead stretched to 23 in the fourth. The Vipers made a late push to bring the game within 10 with just over two minutes to go but would get no closer.
For the game, Rio Grande Valley drained 24 three-pointers, but Oklahoma City outrebounded them 72-39. As a team, the Blue pulled down a season high 25 offensive rebounds and scored 74 points in the paint to the Vipers’ 28.
Eight Oklahoma City players and four players record double-doubles. Zavier Simpson led the Blue with a career-high 24-point, 11-rebound double-double, while passing out seven assists. Thunder two-way player Moses Brown notched his sixth double-double in seven games with 13 points and 17 rebounds while swatting two blocks and two steals.
Ömer Yurtseven also finished with a double-double off the bench, tallying 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting and 13 rebounds. Thunder assignment player Ty Jerome tallied 14 points and six assists in the win.
Brodric Thomas led Rio Grande Valley with 27 points, eight rebounds, four assists and four steals, shooting 7-for-12 from three.
The Blue will finish another back-to-back tomorrow morning against the Iowa Wolves at 10 a.m. CT inside AdventHealth Arena.