Credit: FIBA
Credit FIBA

The first game of a knockout stage in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Split, Croatia had two South American teams facing each other. Brazil (3-0) defeated Mexico (1-2) handily 102-74 (24-18, 29-24, 27-15, 22-17) and advanced to Sunday's final.

Player of the Game
Vitor Alves Benite
EFF
23
Vitor Alves Benite
Points 22
Accuracy 8-11
Rebounds 2
Assists 3

Mexico opened the game with a 10-3 run. But Brazilians, who went undefeated in a group stage, responded with their own run and overtook the lead on a 3-pointer by Rafael Hettsheimeir with 4:44 to play. The quarter ended Brazil being up by six (24-18).

A layup from the veteran Anderson Varejao at the beginning of the second quarter stretched Brazil's lead to double-digits (29-18). Mexicans, on the other hand, couldn't buy a basket for almost three minutes. Finally, Gabriel Giron made a 3-point shot to snap a scoreless streak. But at that point, Brazil appeared to be in the grove with beautiful ball movement and 3-point shots. 

Alex Garcia hit a crazy mid-court shot as the time expired to make the score 53-42 going into halftime.

Veteran shooting guards led both teams during the first half - Francisco Cruz and Vítor Benite, each scoring 16 points.

In the third quarter, Brazil continued their exceptional 3-point shooting.  After Rafael Hettsheimeir's bucket, his team's lead jumped to 20 points (66-44). Mexico seemed incapable of finding answers to Brazil's high percentage shooting. 

In the final quarter, Mexico wasn't able to produce a comeback. Teams traded baskets, with Brazil coming out on top. Vitor Benite led the winners with 22 points (6/8 3PT), while Pako Cruz (18 PTS, 6 REB, 6 AST) was Mexico's best player.

Brazil advanced to the tournament's final and will be waiting for the winner of Germany vs. Croatia game. The final - with the Olympic invitation on the line - will be held on Sunday.

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Brazilijos rinktinÄ—
Meksikos rinktinÄ—
53%
35/66
Field goals
45%
30/67
38
Rebounds
33
24
Assists
20
5
Steals
5
82%
14/17
Free throws
45%
5/11
112
Efficiency
55

Best players

Vitor Alves Benite
22 PTS
8/11 FG
0/0 FT
Francisco  Cruz
18 PTS
8/16 FG
0/0 FT
Brazil
Few players
5 REB
Fabian  Jaimes
8 REB
6 DREB
2 OREB
Yago  Santos
6 As
2 TO
22 MIN
Paul   Stoll
7 As
1 TO
32 MIN
Vitor Alves Benite
23 EFF
67% 2P%
75% 3P%
Francisco  Cruz
14 EFF
75% 2P%
25% 3P%