Iran cut Taiwan down to size with a 72-67 win

By Paul Huang  /  Contributing reporter

Sun, Jul 14, 2013 - Page 20

Unable to overcome an obvious size disadvantage, Taiwan fell victims to an Iran squad that have three players taller than 2.1m in a 72-67 loss at the Sinjhuang Sports Complex in New Taipei City last night, to fall to a 4-3 record.

Coming into the contest as heavy underdogs, the Islanders surprised the sellout crowd by playing the visitors tough. With Lin “The Beast” Chih-jeh downing nine of his team’s first 11 points, the home hosts actually led Iran for nearly half of the first quarter before settling for a 17-all tie.

Neither team would lead by more than two, with Tsai Wen-cheng and Tien Lei doing their best against Iran’s triple threat — Hamed Haddadi (2.18m), Oshin Sahakian (2m) and Mohammad Samad Nikkhah Bahrami (1.98m) before the visitors went on a 5-1 run in the final four minutes to close out the half with a 36-32 lead.

A balanced attack by Iran, coupled with several unforced turnovers on the part of Taiwan, quickly gave the visitors a double-digit advantage that grew to 16 points in the third.

Even though Taiwan managed to pull within two midway through the fourth with Tseng and Tien championing an 11-0 run, that was as close as they got, as Iran answered with a 7-0 run of their own in the next three minutes to put the game away.

US 109, Lebanon 66

Team US took an early 28-9 lead over Lebanon after one quarter of play and never looked back, as they went on to defeat Lebanon 109-66 in the first game in Sinjhuang yesterday afternoon.

With the announcement of Lebanon’s suspension from all international competitions by the tournament official, the game was scored a 20-0 win by the US.

Inability to resolve some issues between two teams back home led to the sanction imposed by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) on Lebanon. They were forced to forfeit all the games they had played so far, including today’s scheduled match against Iran.

Egypt 81, Guan Hua 69

Team Guan Hua gave Egypt a scare through three quarters of play as they overcame a double-digit deficit in the third and actually led it briefly before faltering in the fourth to lose 81-69.

Liu Cheng and Chang Chia-jung combined for 44 of Guan Hua’s 69 points to lead a young Taiwanese squad, while Egypt’s Ibrahim El Gammal led all scorers with 27 points and 11 rebounds.

In other play, it was:

‧ Jordan 74, Japan 65