India lose to Iran in Asia Cup basketball

September 14th, 2012 - 4:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Tokyo, Sep 14 (IANS) India went down to Iran 71-83 on the first day of fourth edition of the Asia Cup basketball here Friday.

India did well to hustle the daylights out of Iran for a better part of the first half, but in the process many of their mainstays ran into foul trouble and the team eventually lost out 71-83 in a Group B game of the 4th FIBA Asia Cup.

Vishesh Bhriguvanshi and Amrit Pal Singh - with Rikin Pethani playing a solid role under the defense glass - were the leaders of the surprise Indian package in the first half scoring 13 points each, but had also copped three personal fouls apiece.

Pethani was bordering on the brink of ejection - with four fouls already against his name - when India went into the changing room having fought hard and trailing only by a whisker.

But the factor of foul trouble weighed largely on the Indian approach - with Yadwinder Singh, another of the starters ejected in the third quarter - and the task for coach J.P. Singh to field and forge a fighting combination got increasingly difficult as the game progressed.

Iran, who despite having the edge in the proceedings looked far from their customary cohesive selves, didn’t need any more invitations to latch on to the opportunities.

Iran spearhead Samad Bahrami led all scorers for the game with 23 points, 17 of them coming in the fourth quarter when Bhriguvanshi had been sent to the benches with five fouls. Bhriguvanshi himself had 21 points before being ousted.

Iran coach Memi Becirovic marked his maiden game in a Asia event by attributing the twice former FIBA Asia champions’ strife to “starting blues.”

“Moreover we are short of three players (Sajjad Mashayekhi, Saleh Foroutan and Amir Sedighi, who have been delayed to complete visa formalities). I think we will get into our rhythm soon,” said the Slovenian.

“Of course we didn’t play like a champion team. But then this was not a championship game either,” said Bahrami.

“This was first game and there is always the factor of familiarity (or the lack of it) of conditions. I think we will improve as the event progresses,” he added.

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