By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
Team Bahamas suffered an 83-75 loss to Mexico in their second game of the FIBA Centrobasket Men's U17 Championships in the Dominican Republic.
Trailing by two with just over two minutes left to play, the Bahamas squandered several opportunities down the stretch in their first loss of the tournament.
Both teams are now 1-1 in Group A.
Dominick Bridgewater led the Bahamas with 31 points, 13 rebounds, six steals and four assists, Raschad Greene had 12 points and 12 rebounds, Samuel Hunter added 15 points and eight rebounds.
"They're really good rebounders and defenders so it was hard for us to grab rebounds and put it back up with all the fouling going on but we still did a good job on the boards," Greene said, "We just have to tighten up everything we did it practice and execute what we learned."
Javier Gonzalez led Mexico with 32 points and nine rebounds, Moises Andriassi scored 17 and Arturo Castillon scored 12.
With just over two minutes left to play in the fourth quarter and the Bahamas trailing 72-70, Detarrio Thompson came up with a steal and chance to tie the game on a fastbreak layup but failed to convert. Mexico took advantage of the mishap with a layup to make it a two possession game, then a three pointer from Gonzalez and an Andriassi layup to give his team a 79-70 lead with 44 seconds left.
The Bahamas struggled from the field and shot just 29 per cent for the game. They dished just eight assists while 24 of Mexico's 31 made field goals came off assists en route to shooting 51 per cent from the field. Mexico also outscored the Bahamas on fastbreak points (24-15), points in the paint (48-34) and bench points (23-4).
After his 27 point performance in the opening day win against Guyana, Bridgewater picked up where he left off with a three pointer for the first score of the game. Hunter followed with a deep three as the Bahamas took an early 6-2 lead. Both teams went scoreless for just over two minutes before Bridgewater made another three to give the Bahamas a 10-4 lead. Mexico was in the bonus early with just over four minutes left to play in the quarter and was able to keep pace at the free throw line.
A halfcourt trap forced the Bahamas' three turnovers and Gonzalez tied the game from the line, 10-10. Davano Whitfield and Obrien Pearce made free throws late in the quarter and the Bahamas took a 16-15 lead at the end of the first.
Mexico then went ahead 21-17, dominating the interior on both ends and reached their biggest lead of the game - 28-18 - on a Gonzalez corner three and fastbreak layup. Bridgewater responded with the tip in and Grevaughn Goodman made a three to stop the run. Bridgewater scored seven in row, including his third three pointer of the game, as the Bahamas battled back. His runner regained a 34-32 lead for the Bahamas with 2:43 left to play in the half and they took a 36-36 tie into intermission. The Bahamas shot just 29 per cent at the half but held a nine point advantage from beyond the three point arch.
Bridgewater drove to the basket for the opening points of the third. The game was tied at 38 and 40 before Hunter scored twice and Greene made a fast break layup for a 46-40 lead. Mexico cut the lead to one on an Arredondo layup. Back-to-back fast break layups and a 6-0 run gave Mexico a 57-53 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Mexico then went ahead by as much as eight, 62-55 on Castillon three pointer. Bridgewater trimmed the deficit to six on his put back and Hunter's baseline jumper cut the lead to three, 65-62 with 6:26 left to play. Goodman tied the game at 65 on the next possession with a step back three. Mexico went ahead 72-68 with three minutes left. Hunter cut it to 72-70 on a turnaround jumper, but it was as close as the Bahamas would get down the stretch.
The team returns to action on Friday when they face Puerto Rico at 5pm local time. Puerto Rico leads Group A with a 2-0 record thus far.