Puerto Rico get first win; USA, Brazil and Canada stay unbeaten
YUCATAN (Mexico) – The second day of the 2023 FIBA Americas U16 Championship group stage saw an all-world performance from Team USA and hard-fought victories from Brazil and Canada – with all three teams still unbeaten after 2 games.
And during the nightcap at Poliforum Zamna in Merida, Yucatan, Puerto Rico defeated Mexico to earn its first win of the tournament.
Here's a look at how the games unfolded:
Brazil survived a furious comeback attempt down the stretch from the Dominican Republic, beating them 68-66 to move to 2-0 in Group B play.
After going up 67-58 on a Pedro Baddini free throw with a 2:58 left in the fourth quarter, Bruno Porto's team went cold and barely managed to hold on, as Eugri Germán missed a last-second halfcourt shot that would've won it for the Caribbean nation.
Brazil shot a paltry 30.1 percent from the field but dominated on the boards, generating enough extra possessions to walk away with the victory. Their 63-40 rebounding edge (27-12 on the offensive glass) allowed them to produce a 20-7 edge in second chance points.
Big man Fabricio De Freitas was instrumental with a whopping 16 rebounds (plus 2 steals and 3 blocks), while Pedro Fernandes and Nolan Kemm notched 8 boards each.
Small forward Patrick Perna led the way with 21 points on 7/8 from the free throw line, while Kemm added 13. Brazil's 20-15 edge at the charity stripe also helped to tip the scales.
Power forward Eliel Ulloa paced the Dominicans with 17 points and 8 rebounds, while Richard Fernandez added 16 and 4. Manuel Castro (13) and Lucas Morillo (10) also scored in double digits, as D.R. closed the gap down the stretch by generating 25 points out of Brazil's 25 turnovers before their valiant effort fell just short.
Just when it seemed like Uruguay was poised for a major upset, Canada uncorked a massive 20-3 run to defeat the South Americans, 75-65, and improve to 2-0 in Group B play.
After being down during most of the first half, Uruguay briefly took the lead in the second quarter and again early in the fourth. They extended that lead to 62-55 with 5:58 to go in regulation on a Joaquín Taboada and-1 and seemed in control before their offense completely sputtered.
Point guard Kamai Samuels brought them back from the brink with a 7-0 run of his own and power forward Godson Okokoh scored 5 straight to give them a lead they'd never relinquish.
Samuels scored 9 of his team-leading 17 points in the fourth quarter and added 10 points, 5 assists and 3 steals. Shooting guard Quinten Ethier also had 17 (3/8 from beyond the arc) while big man Paul Osaruyi chipped in 10 for Canada, who outscored Uruguay 42-32 in points in the paint.
Uruguay shot much better from the field (41.4 percent vs. 35.1) but Canada's 19 offensive rebounds allowed them to win the possession game and make up for it.
Taboada led the way for Uruguay (now 0-2) with 18 points, while Santiago Tricot (14 on 4/7 from long distance) and Valentín Curbelo (13 and 6 rebounds) also scored in double digits in the losing effort.
The defending champions proved once again why they're the team to beat in the tournament, dismantling Argentina, 113-52, to improve to 2-0 in Group A play.
The Americans broke the game open with a 20-4 start to the second quarter and kept pressing forward all the way into the final buzzer despite nursing a 53-point lead at the end of the third quarter.
Sharman White's team was undeniable, shooting 50 percent from the field and draining 25 of 34 free throw attempts. They also had 29 assists on 41 made field goals and a 55-33 edge on the boards thanks to an impressive 23 offensive rebounds.
And they did it with a balanced offense where all 12 of their players scored at least one basket and no one played more than 22 minutes.
Cameron Boozer led the way with 19 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals, while team captain Koa Peat collected a 13-point, 13-rebound double-double.
Cayden Boozer, Cameron's brother and Carlos Boozer's son, chipped in 13 points and 5 rebounds, and Darryn Peterson had 12 points and 5 assists as the Americans turned Argentina's sky-high 36 turnovers into 57 points.
Argentina suffered from a slow start after missing 8 of its first 9 three-pointers but were down only 7 points at the end of the first quarter (20-13). However, it got late early for Juan Fernández's squad in a game they’ll surely try to forget quickly.
Tomás Scola (son of the legendary Luis Scola) and Tyler Kropp scored 8 points each for the South Americans, who now sit in second place in Group A with a 1-1 record.
Puerto Rico earned their first win of the tournament after defeating Mexico Tuesday night, 60-52 in the last game of the day.
Eddin Santiago's squad won the second quarter 18-9 to establish a solid lead and went about the work of defending it throughout the rest of the game.
The boricuas held Mexico to 28.6 percent from the field and even stopped their outside shooting, limiting them to just 5 three-pointers on the night.
Guard Felipe Quiñones once again led the way with 21 points despite shooting just 7/24 from the field and rounded out his stat sheet with 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.
Meanwhile, Rogny Santiago added 13 points while forwards Alexander Montes (16) and Justin Roman (12) combined for 28 rebounds off the bench. Their 19-11 edge in offensive rebounds allowed Puerto Rico to score just enough to survive a poor shooting night of their own.
Mexico opened the fourth quarter on a 12-2 run to cut the deficit to one point with 5:19 left in regulation. Power forward Dylan Aguilra had a 15-point, 11-rebound double-double and Edgar Grande (13) and Pablo Espinoza (10) also scored in double digits.
However, Quiñones scored 8 of his 21 down the stretch as Puerto Rico closed the game on a 10-3 run.