Iran whips Korea, advances to Fiba Asia 2015 Final Four
CHANGSHA CITY, China – Executing its pre-game plan to the letter, defending champion Iran starved South Korea early and went on to post a 75-62 victory Thursday for the first Final Four berth in the Fiba Asia Olympic Qualifier at Changsha Social Work College Gym here.
The Iranians, whose only loss in the tournament came at the hands of Gilas Pilipinas, 87-73, last week, limited the Korean baskets to trickles in the first period, holding their prolific foes to just eight points to completely establish control and win with plenty to spare.
They led by as many as 23 points.
“I thought that our players understood that the Korean team tends to play well early in games,” Iran coach Dirk Bauermann, said. “They understood that we had to come out hard and win the first five minutes of the game.
“That’s what we did, we came out very focused and played great defensively,” Bauermann continued. “When you do that, it makes the rest of the game so much easier.
“That was an outstanding performance against a good offensive team.”
The victory, which advanced Iran opposite China or India, effectively enabled the Iranians to get some sort of revenge for the Korean victory in Inchon last year for the Asian Games gold medal.
“We have seven new players this year, they all need international experience,” Korean coach Kim Dong-kwang told reporters who asked the difference between that Asian Games team and this one.
Hamed Haddadi scored 18 points and collared 14 boards with Oshin Sahakian shooting 12 and Hamed Afagh 11 before twisting his right ankle late in the third quarter and not returning.
The Iranian defense punished the Koreans no end that Yang Donggeun, one of the best scorers in the region, was held down to just six points on 3-for-9 shooting.
Iran also allowed just two players from Korea to score in twin digits, with Kim Jong-ku and Moon Tae-young sharing team honors with 10 each. Randolph B. Leongson/INQUIRER.net
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