With nothing more than pride and bragging rights on the line, Puerto Rico and Mexico gave fans a FIBA Americas final to remember on Wednesday, with Mexico holding on for a 91-89 win.
Both teams had already clinched a spot in the 2014 FIBA World Cup, but Puerto Rico was the favorite coming into the tournament. The team is led by J.J. Barea, Renaldo Balkman and Carlos Arroyo, who all boast NBA experience.
But this one was back-and-forth all night, and two free throws from Lorenzo Mata put Mexico up for good with 52 seconds left. He finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Down the other end, Puerto Rico had three chances to tie or win the game. First, Daniel Gregg Santiago missed one of two free throws to bring the deficit to one with 33 seconds left. Then, with Puerto Rico able to hold for the last shot, Arroyo threw the ball away to give it back to Mexico with 7.3 seconds remaining. After a free throw put Mexico back up by two, Alexander Galindo missed a three from the corner that would have won the game.
Jovan Harris (23 points) and Gustavo Ayon (20 points) led Mexico in scoring while Arroyo (23) and Barea (20) paced Puerto Rico.
After losing to Canada on Sept. 5, Mexico won its final five games of the tournament to capture the title.
Third place game: Argentina 103, Dominican Republic 93
In a close game throughout, Argentina was able to pull away from the Dominican Republic for a 10-point win to clinch third place and avenge a 19-point loss from group play. Point guard Facundo Campazzo controlled the game with 31 points and 11 assists.
As if that wasn't enough for the Dominican Republic to handle, Luis Scola dropped 23 more while Juan Gutierrez came off the bench to add 17 points.
Former Louisville Cardinal Edgar Sosa led the Dominican Republic with 20 points in the loss. The Dominican also out-rebounded Argentina, 41-26, but the Argentines took care of the ball, handing out 24 assists and turning it over just six times.