The Mexico National Team has a chance to win Group B of the FIBA Americas Championship after dusting off the Dominican Republic 85-61 in Caracas, Venezuela, on Sept. 2. Mexico (3-0) has six points and will tangle with Argentina (2-1) on Sept. 3, at 2 p.m. EDT.
Orlando Mendez scored a game-high 26 points, on 10-of-15 shooting including 4-of-7 beyond the arc, and dished out five assists. Jorge Gutierrez and Gustavo Ayon contributed 16 points apiece for the winners. Ayon, who was 8-of-11 from the field, hauled in eight rebounds and blocked two shots while Gutierrez was 6-of-7 from the field and had four dimes. Noe Chavez finished with 15 points.
Jack Martinez led three Dominican Republic players in double figures with 16 points on 7-of-14 shooting. Francisco Garcia tallied 14 points and Eulis Baez contributed 11 points and six rebounds. Martinez also grabbed seven rebounds.
Mexico started the game on an 11-4 run behind six points from Ayon, three from Humberto Hernandez and two from Mendez. Mexico pushed their first quarter lead to 19-7 before the Dominican Republic got their offense going and cut the deficit to 29-20 at the end of the period.
The Dominican Republic battled hard in the second and third quarter but were not able to get any closer than nine points.
That changed in the fourth quarter.
Down 60-48 at the beginning of the final stanza, Baez scored five straight points to bring the Dominican Republic to within 60-53 with 8:13 remaining. However, Mendez knocked down two triples as Mexico pushed the lead back to 12 and they would end the game on a 15-3 run.
Argentina defeated Venezuela 77-71 on Sept.2. If Argentina wins they will be the top seed from Group B and if the South American loses they could fall to fourth.
The Dominican Republic (1-2) must defeat winless Paraguay (0-3) in order to qualify for the second round. If the Dominican Republic wins and Argentina loses the D.R. will be the third seed.