Jorge Gutierrez continues to win in international competition. After helping Mexico in its improbable win in last summer's FIBA Americas championship --and an automatic berth in this year's World Cup-- Gutierrez was key again Thursday night when Mexico beat Puerto Rico, 74-60, in the FIBA CentroBasket tournament in Tepic, Mexico.
Gutierrez not only scored 12 points --going to the line eight times in 22 minutes, he held Puerto Ricos's J.J. Barea to 3 points on 1-of-11 shooting. Two nights ago, Barea and Gutierrez both scored 24 points. Not Thursday.
Gutierrez took only five shots, made two, both three pointers, and grabbed four rebounds and handed out two assists. He did have five turnovers. Gustavo Ayon, the free agent Mexican center, finished with 16 points and 16 rebounds. Mexico now moves on to Argentina for the Tres Naciones tournament in Technopolis. The host nation will take on Mexico and Brazil.
Sergey Karasev will participate this weekend in the FIBA Europe Qualifying Tournament, playing Switzerland Sunday in Fribourg, Switzerland. Mirza Teletovic will begin his Qualifying Tournaments games starting Wednesday.
Karasev told FIBA Europe's website that he's optimistic.
"We will have a difficult game with Switzerland first and then an even tougher one against Italy," Karasev said."Last year, we lost to them at the EuroBasket in Slovenia, and then our entire tournament was disastrous.
"In that game we did not do what our coach had asked but hopefully now this will not happen again. Now we have Timofey Mozgov again, who was not in Slovenia. He is a very powerful center, our striking force under the basket. The Italians do not have such strong big men and that gives us an advantage."
Also this weekend, Bojan Bogdanovic will lead Croatia in a friendly tournament in France. Bogdanovic will face off against the national teams of France, Serbia and Greece.