The Mexican CIBACOPA Finals series is going to the wire after Zonkeys de Tijuana evened the title series by defeating Caballeros de Culiacan in Game 6. The franchise needed overtime to pick up the 86-80 victory though as Culiacan pushed in its pursuit of the title. Indeed, Tijuana trailed by nine points after thirty minutes and needed a spirited fourth quarter comeback to take the win.
The success was spurred by some committed defensive play, with the home team turning over possession 22 times throughout the game. In the danger zones Tijuana looked well drilled and handed out 22 dimes to keep scoring consistent.
Tijuana vs. Culiacan, 86-60 OT
In front of its home crowd, Zonkeys came out with the intent of hurting Caballeros at the basket in the first quarter. With strong defence in the paint and good rebounding the hosts controlled periods of the opening 10 minutes and outpaced Culiacan 26-22 for the lead. The visitors tightened up in the second period and took the lead for the first time, while the defence forced Tijuana to struggle along the perimeter and forcing them to pull triples. Culiacan sent home 15 points during the second quarter while holding Tijuana to 9 to lead 35-37 at halftime.
After the long rest Caballeros found another gear to pull 11 points clear, a deficit that would be the largest of the game. Tijuana was on the ropes and in danger of losing the title series. Another impressive quarter saw the away team open a seemingly decisive 51-60 lead. The game was not finished though and Tijuana had found the points needed to tie the game after 40 minutes, winning the fourth 25-16 to put the score at 76-76.
In overtime the hosts continued their fourth quarter resurgence and rallied with a strong home support to win the game and book a decisive seventh game of the series.
James Penny lead Tijuana with 24 points and 7 rebounds, while Marcus Morrison secured 17 points, 12 boards, and 12 assists in a sensational triple-double game.
Rene Rougeau set the pace for Caballeros with 22 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 dimes, with Benjamin Puckett getting 11 points and 15 rebounds for a double-double.