Basketball: US destroys Mexico to open hoops campaign

Americans win 112-13.

basketballs 88 (photo credit: )
basketballs 88
(photo credit: )
If there was ever a game that illustrated the need for a mercy rule in the Maccabiah, Tuesday night's 112-13 demolition of Mexico by the United States in the preliminary round of the men's basketball tournament was as good a pick as any. In a game that was never in doubt from the opening tip, the US scored 22 points before Mexico even got on the scoreboard. A 38-2 lead at the end of the first quarter was extended to 67-4 by the half and 88-8 to close the third. Any time Mexico scored a point, the crowd of 200 in Ra'anana's Aviv Hall celebrated as if they had clinched the championship, a telling sign of just how laughable the contest turned into towards the end. The Americans and Mexicans, to be fair, probably did not belong on the same competitive court, with both the levels of talent and experience between the two nations being highly disproportionate. However, the 99-point margin of victory unbelievably did not detract from the on-court sportsmanship that was displayed by both squads right to the final whistle. "It was great to play against these guys, regardless of the outcome," said Mexican power forward Salomon Kibrit, who accounted for 31 percent percent of his team's scoring, with four points. "They are professionals, playing in Europe or Division 1 colleges. We're just an amateur team. Still it was amazing." Dan Grunfeld led the US attack with 22 points and spent significant time on the bench as Bruce Pearl, the team's coach, utilized his reserves for much of the contest. "You know, as much as I don't like defeating a team by so much, it would also be an insult to an opponent not to try," explained Pearl to The Jerusalem Post. "Overall, I am happy with the way my boys carried themselves in victory, and we'll move forward from here towards our goal taking the gold medal." Next on tap for the US is a meeting with France on Wednesday night at 6 p.m. in Ra'anana's Metrowest Hall, just before the Israeli team opens its Maccabiah campaign against Germany in the same gym. While the American players are unflinching in their stance to not take any opponent for granted, a final pairing which includes any clubs but the US and Israel would be a monumental upset.