16 Apr 2024
Saturday 24 February 2024 - 14:45
Story Code : 416018
Source : Tehran Times

Iran edge Qatar at FIBA Asia Cup 2025 qualifier

The Iran Project : Iran got tested right in their very first game but passed as much with flying colors as they overcame Qatar in an overtime thriller, 76-74, to start off their FIBA Asia Cup 2025 Qualifiers campaign, Friday night at a packed Azadi Basketball Hall.
Iran Basketball team
Iran Basketball team
According to The Iran Project,Sajjad Mashayekhi nailed the go-ahead triple off a Behnam Yakhchali kick-out with 39.0 seconds left, and Mike Lewis missing his potential game-winning trey before time expired enabled the home team to escape after finding themselves in an unfamiliar territory.

The 23-year-old floor general finished with 8 points and 7 assists as Iran took the provisional lead in Group D (1-0) following the hard-earned victory.

Yakhchali top-scored for Team Melli with 20 points on 6-of-13 shooting from beyond the arc, alongside 3 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals to net an efficiency of 20.

Navid Rezaeifar finished with 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor as all but one of the 11 players fielded by Coach Hakan Demir scored at least 3 points in the win.

The Iranians appeared to be on their way to suffering an upset at the hands of the Qataris when they trailed by seven, 65-58, with 2:58 left in the fourth quarter.

But experience proved key time and again, with the trio of Meisam Mirzaei, Rezaeifar, and Yakhchali joining hands for a 7-0 run to tie it up at 65-all with 1:04 remaining.

A costly foul, though, enabled Qatar to regain the lead behind free throws by Lewis, and things appeared bleak for the home team once more when Yakhchali missed his triple that could've given the upper hand, and Mirzaei failed to clean up that miss.

Luckily for them, Arsalan Kazemi was there to save the possession, and then nailed the bucket they've been hoping for to tie the game at 67-all with 22 seconds left. The visitors' failure to convert on the other end sent the game into an extra five minutes.

Qatar seemingly had it in the bag when they took a 74-71 lead with 3:04 left but that proved to be the last time they'd taste the lead, with Rezaeifar and Mashayekhi coming through with the game's most important baskets as Iran eventually completed the fightback.

It was the first Asia Cup Qualifiers game to go into OT since the meeting between Syria and Saudi Arabia back in June 12, 2021, fiba.basketball reported.
Reporter : Editorial of The Iran Project
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