Rio Grande Valley Vipers finish third as Culver goes for 34
TENERIFE (Spain) - It was a one-man show in the Third Place Game in the Santiago Martin Arena on Sunday, as Jarrett Culver played a nearly perfect game to power the Rio Grande Valley Vipers to a 107-84 win over Tunisia's US Monastir.
The NBA G League champions avoided another fourth place finish in the FIBA Intercontinental Cup, climbing one step closer to the top compared to their first experience in this event back in 2020.
Turning point: Coach Kevin Burleson's men came out with intensity and determination to put the game out of the BAL winners' reach as soon as possible, and a first-quarter points tally of 32 was just the right recipe to pull away and end the competition on a high note
The largest lead of the game was 34 points, and Rio Grande Valley spent all but 17 seconds of this game leading their opponents.
Game hero: Jarrett Culver was the sixth pick back in the 2019 NBA Draft, has 144 NBA games under his belt, and all of his potential was on display in this matchup. A week before his 24th birthday, Culver went off for 34 points, a game-high by some distance.
He knocked down 13-of-15 shots from the field, including 6-of-8 from beyond the arc. Culver also had a pair of rebounds, assists, and a block, all done in 27 minutes of work. The Vipers were a +31 team with him on the floor.
Stats don't lie: US Monastir committed 25 turnovers, allowing the NBA G League champs to play in open court all the time. That led to a 22-9 edge in points from turnovers, and a 25-8 advantage in assists.
Bottom line: The Vipers repeated the result of the Lakeland Magic from 2022, but we are still waiting for a team from the United States to reach the Final. The last time that happened was back in 1974, when the Maryland Terrapins defeated Ignis Varese in the title game.
US Monastir finished in fourth position, but this experience will surely be a valuable one to them once they return to BAL duties in March. Oussama Marnaoui had 19 points in a losing effort.