Mexico tops Venezuela without Beck

Aug 30, 2007 - 11:47 PM LAS VEGAS (Ticker) -- Being without Romel Beck was not such a bad thing for Mexico.

Without its top scorer, Mexico posted a 101-91 victory over Venezuela in a second-round game of the FIBA Americas Championship on Thursday.

Beck, a former UNLV player who is fifth in the tournament with an average of 20.3 points, did not play due to a strained left calf muscle injury.

"I hurt it during the USA game (on Monday)," Beck said. "It has been bothering me the last couple of days. Against Canada (on Wednesday), it got to a point where I could not go full speed and run. If we were playing for an Olympic qualifying spot, I would have tried to play.

With Beck out of the lineup, Mexico pounded the ball inside and outscored Venezuela in the paint, 48-32. It also controlled the inside by holding a 44-31 advantage in rebounds.

The game decided which team could finish as high as sixth place in the 10-team tournament. Neither club can claim the fifth spot and make next year's Olympic qualifier.

Victor Mariscal's 3-pointer with 6:51 left in the third quarter gave Mexico a 55-52 lead. After that, the Mexicans outscored Venezuela, 22-13, for the remainder of the period, building a 77-65 advantage.

Mexico also outrebounded Venezuela, 16-6, in the third.

Anthony Pedroza led Mexico with 27 points on 77 percent (10-for-13) shooting. Adam Parada scored 21 points and Mariscal added 19, seven rebounds and four assists.

"A lot of guys here were playing in their first international tournament," Mariscal said. "I think they gained valuable experience that will be helpful to our team in the future. I am very happy to have played here and see our younger players develop."

Veteran forward Horacio Llamas, who had seven points and six rebounds, echoed Mariscal's sentiments.

"I'm so proud of the way we played together and the way we improved as a team," he said. "I would like to be part of this team in any capacity that they need me."

Hector Romero finished with 23 points and six assists, Greivis Vasquez scored 17 points and Miguel Marriaga chipped in 15 for Venezuela.

"Hector Romero is a great player and even a better person," Marriaga said. "He played excellent during the whole tournament. His energy and support to the younger players was constant."

Mexico trailed by eight points at the end of the first quarter and halved the deficit at intermission. Venezuela shot 51 percent (20-of-39) from the field for the first half.

"Today, we played pretty relaxed," Marriaga said. "We thought we could win easily, but again, we failed to execute. We leave the tournament happy but not satisfied because we did not reach our goal."






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