Iran’s second-half run buries Bahrain

A game Bahrain squad stuck close to their Group F foes Iran after the first 20 minutes, but their opponents’ superior arsenal was brought to bear in the second half.

Iran blew out their competition with a 45-29 spread between the third and fourth quarters, to notch a 75-56 victory and a clean 4-0 slate in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship, Tuesday at the MOA Arena.

Bahrain on the other hand slumped to 1-3, with one game left to play in the second round.

Sammad Nikkah Bahrami led Iran with 17 points, while Asghar Kardoust and Hamed Afagh added 12 and 15 markers respectively. Mahdi Kamrany scored nine and added 10 assists. Oshin Sahakian hauled in 10 boards.

“We didn’t underestimate our opponent and we were focused in the game,” said Iran head coach Mehmed Becirovic.

Even if they were faced with a daunting task in front of them, Bahrain was actually the first team to score thanks to a Mohamed Alderazi basket.

However, Hamed Hadadi quickly knotted the game at 2-all with a short turnaround jumper. Mahdi Kamrany, a victim of a wayward knee to the head in Iran’s last game, showed that he was back in shape by following that up with a triple.

Hamed Afagh then sank a corner three at the 7:01 mark for an 8-2 count before Kawaid stopped the run for Bahrain with a basket. Samad Nikkah Bahrami countered by unloading three conversions to give Iran an early 12-4 lead halfway through the first.

Oshin Sahankian became the fifth Iranian to score in the game as he buried back-to-back baskets to up their lead to 14 with less than three minutes remaining in the first quarter. The two teams eventually settled for a 23-6 count in favor of Iran after the first 10 minutes of action.

In the second, Bahrain finally broke into the double-digits with a basket from Yunes Kawaid. It was quickly followed by an and-one play from Alderazi at the 5:26 mark to halve Iran’s lead, 26-13.

A triple from big-bodied Ahmed Aman got Bahrain to within 12 points. Alderazi added another trey and Hussain Altawash scored on a three-point play and a three-pointer from the field to bring down Iran’s lead down to just three points at 30-27 at the end of the first half.

“I think we did a good job compared to our last game,” said Bahrain’s Bader Malabes. “I think we did pretty well against a team like Iran which is the number one contender.”

Iran buckled down in the second half with Afagh and Nikkah Bahrami connecting from range, to give Iran a 36-27 lead. However, Altawash kept his hot streak going by making another trey to bring the lead back down to six points.

Hadadi and Nikkah Bahrami then scored five unanswered to re-establish a double-digit lead for Iran at 41-30.

Three free throws from Afagh at the 5:39 mark of the third gave Iran a 13-point cushion, with Hadadi and Nikkah Bahrami piling on four straight to break the game wide open, as Iran now held a 17-point lead.

The rest of the third looked like Iran was doing its pre-game layup lines as they scored with ease. Another Afagh triple stretched the lead to 25 at 58-33.

Bader Malabes, Altawash, and Alderazi tried to keep the game close with their outside sniping but it was too meek a reply to Iran’s run, which by now had the score reading 63-41 with a quarter left.

Malabes shot a difficult jumper at the 6:06 mark to somehow trim the lead down to 21. However, Asghar Kardoust continued his dominance inside to keep Iran’s lead above 20 points. Iran pulled out their starters midway through the fourth, but they still cruised to the win.

Husain Altawash led Bahrain with 15 markers on 5-of-10 shooting, including 4-of-6 from downtown. Mohamed Alderazi added 14 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Foreign center CJ Giles was out of the line-up again due to a knee injury, leaving Bahrain short up front.

Iran finished shooting a 45 percent clip from the field, compared to just 38 percent by Bahrain. Helping out their cause was the fact that Iran got to the line 21 times, compared to just two by their foes.

The height factor of Iran also came into play, with a 16-4 edge in second-chance points. – AMD, GMA News

The scores:

Bahrain 56 –Altawash 15, Alderazi M. 14,  Kawaid 8, Malabes 7, Kawaid 4,  Ismaeel 3, Aman 3, Alderazi H. 2, Azzam 0, Giles 0, Akber 0, Ebrahim 0,

Iran 75 – Nikkah Bahrami 17, Afagh 15, Kardoust 12, Hadadi 9, Kamrany 9, Veisi 5, Sahakian 4, Arghavan 2, Davoudichegani 2, Jamshidijafarabadi 0, Davari 0, Sohrabnejad 0

By GMA News


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