Iran tops group F, Kazakhstan’s quarterfinals spot in peril

Iran will be heading to the quarterfinals without a single defeat in the group stages as they rolled over an overmatched Kazakhstan team 85-53, Wednesday at the MOA Arena.

As the top seed in Group F, they’ll face Jordan come the quarterfinals, which begin on Friday, in a rematch of their 2011 FIBA Asia Championship meeting, also in the quarters.

Even if he played limited minutes, Hamed Haddadi still led Iran with 16 points and nine rebounds. He was backed up by Ahmed Afagh and Mahdi Kamrany who scored 15 and 11 markers respectively.

Rustam Yargaliyev top-scored for Kazakhstan with 14 but it was nowhere near enough to compete with Iran.

Hamed Hadadi opened the game with a short jumper from the baseline. After Anton Ponomarev and Hamed Afagh exchanged baskets, Rustam Yargaliyev connected with a three at the 7:12 mark to give Kazakhstan a 5-4 lead.

After Kazakhstan built a four-point lead, Iran went on a 7-0 run thanks largely to Madhi Kamrany, for a 13-10 count in their favor. Afagh then poured in nine points in the first quarter to help his team get a 22-15 advantage at the end of the first 10 minutes.

A triple by Davoudichegani at the 8:14 mark of the second gave Iran its first double-digit lead at 27-17.

Kazakhstan fell behind by 11 points, before Nikolay Bzhkin brought the lead back down to eight with a triple at the 4:23 mark of the second quarter. However, Oshin Sahakian broke free from his defender to score unmolested inside.

Afagh completed an and-one play with 1:28 remaining in the first half to give Iran a 38-14 lead. Samad Nikkah Bahrami scored his first basket of the half late in the second for a 41-24 count in their favor at the half.

Hamed Hadadi buckled down to business to start the third quarter. He was unstoppable inside, helping Iran get a 47-29 lead, just two minutes gone by in the quarter.

Iran continued to pad their lead while Kazakhstan groped for form. Ponomarev was called for back-to-back personal and technical fouls on Hadadi, who responded with four straight markers to stretch Iran’s lead to 28 at 58-30 with three minutes left in the third period.

A layup by Samad Veisi gave Iran an even 30 point lead at 62-32. He added a triple at the end of the third quarter to settle the score at 70-36 heading into the final canto.

The fourth quarter looked more like a glorified tune-up match between the two teams. With the game already decided and with no quotients to worry about, the two teams simply ran their plays.

Iran emptied out their bench to rest their stars in preparation for the quarterfinals on Friday.

Matteo Boniciolli, Kazakhstan’s head coach, opted to sit rotation players Jerri Jonson (31 minutes prior to this game), Konstantin Dvirnyy (24 minutes), and Mikhail Yevstigneyev (20 minutes), handing the playing time to some of his less-heralded players.

By GMA News


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