FIBA Asia: Jordan ousts Iran, paves easier path for SMART-Gilas

Hamed Haddadi had his usual strong showing, but Jordan shocked Iran in the quarterfinals of the FIBA Asia Championship. AFP/Liu Jin

Group F fourth-seed Jordan, which entered the quarterfinal round winning just three of six six assignments in the tournament, pulled off a shocking upset of erstwhile undefeated Iran, 88-84, at the FIBA Asia Championship for Men in Wuhan, China.

Jordan led early in the game, before Iran, which had won the last two editions of the tournament, claimed the advantage in the second quarter and looked primed to advance to the semifinal round. But Jordan relied on solid defense, sharp three-point shooting and the steady hand of star guard Sam Daghles in the clutch to survive the knockout game against the pre-tournament favorites.

Daghles led Jordan with 23 points, including an impressive 9-for-11 clip from the free-throw line. Reserves Zaid Naem Alkhas and Wesam Al-Sous combined to hit 8 out of 12 shots from beyond the three-point line to score 14 and 12, respectively. Naturalized player Rasheim Wright also scored 12 for Jordan.

The upset win could make the road for the SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national team easier. A quarterfinal win over Chinese Taipei on Friday would set them up for a semifinal pairing against Jordan instead of the powerhouse Iran squad. SMART-Gilas already beat Jordan, 72-64, in their first matchup in the second round of the tournament.

Iran was led by 7-foot-2 NBA veteran center Hamed Haddadi, who finished with 27 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists and three blocks, and Arsalan Kazemi, who had 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting and 16 rebounds.

Top Iranian gun Samad Nikkhah Bahrami was held to just eight points on 1-for-7 shooting from the field. Iran, as a team, shot just 41% from the field and 61% from the free-throw line in the loss.

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