Mexico Hold Off Stubborn New Zealand for First Win

Mexico Hold Off Stubborn New Zealand for First Win

Mexico finally got on the board at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023, defeating New Zealand 108-100 less than 24 hours after the Tall Blacks were handed a knock-out blow by Greece in the First Round.

This was Mexico’s third 100+ point game in FIBA Basketball World Cup history. The first two came in 1974, scoring 106 against the Central African Republic and 101 against the Philippines.

Both teams are now 1-3 in the Classification Games 17-32 Group N.

Turning point: Mexico stormed to a double-digit lead early on, but Finn Delany and Shea Ili fueled a comeback that brought them back to -6 with five minutes to play.

Paul Stoll knocked down a big three-pointer to stop that run, make it a +9 lead, and secure a less dramatic finish for coach Omar Quintero and his squad.

TCL Player of the Game: Pako Cruz has had a rock-solid tournament, it just flew under the radar because Mexico was losing. He had 27 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals to lead Mexico to their first win in Manila.

Honorable mention goes to Fabian Jaimes, 17 points, 11 rebounds, and 7 assists on the day for the power forward.

The stats don’t lie: Mexico finally had a good shooting day, knocking down 14-of-25 from beyond the arc.

Bottom line: Both teams remain in the hunt for a place among the teams to reach one of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments next summer. Mexico will try to get to 2-3 with a game against Jordan on Saturday.

New Zealand did not have any luck, but their guards were impressive once again. Shea Ili had an 18-point, 10-assist double-double, and Reuben Te Rangi finished with 32 points after knocking down three crazy three-pointers in the final 90 seconds of the game. They play Egypt next, after getting a day off on Friday.


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