FIBA Asia Cup 2022 – Australia and New Zealand keep win streak

Aug 30, 2022

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AUSTRALIA Boomers and New Zealand Tall Blacks both defeated Iran and Jordan convincingly to maintain their perfect records in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers. 

The day began with New Zealand defeating Jordan 100 – 72, controlling the game from beginning to end.

The Tall Blacks exploded out of the gate, making 10 three-pointers in the first half alone to take a 26 point lead into the break. They would coast the rest of the way to a victory with a lead as large as 32 points. 

For New Zealand, five players scored in double digits, with Shea Ili leading the way with 16 points. 

Amin Abu Hawwas led all scorers for Jordan with 19 points, followed by Hashem Abbas with 15. 

Australia’s large advantage from the first half was quickly erased in the third quarter, but they didn’t give up and eventually defeated Iran 98 – 68.

Nick Kay scored 15 points in the opening 20 minutes of play for the Boomers, who breezed through the first half and appeared to be headed for another easy Australian triumph. 

Iran, who had trailed by 11 points at the break, returned from the break with a fire in their eyes, and they quickly fought back to take the lead four minutes into the second half. But Australia’s increased vigor in the fourth quarter prevented them from maintaining that pace for the remainder of the game.

Australia kept Iran scoreless for a period of 4 minutes to go on an 11-0 run that moved their lead back up to double digits for good, much like they did to prevent China from pulling off the upset in the First Round of the Asian Qualifiers. 

All Australian players scored goals, with the exception of teenager Rory Hawke, who nevertheless made a contribution in the closing minute with a theft and an assist. 

Mohammad Jamshidi (17 points), Sajjad Mashayekhi (11 points), and Salar Monji (10 points) were the leaders of Iran’s comeback attempt, but it was insufficient to pull off the major upset.

Defining Moments

NZL against JOR: It appeared like the Tall Blacks would have one of those days as Ethan Rusbatch made his team’s sixth three-pointer of the opening period to give New Zealand a 28-10 advantage with one minute remaining. They simply carried on. 

Dejan Vasiljevic was on fire in the second half against Iran, and it was his three-pointer with four minutes remaining in the third quarter that put an end to Iran’s surge. Up until that point, the two teams had been trading baskets and leads, but Vasiljevic’s three-pointer gave the Boomers a two-possession advantage. From that point forward, they didn’t turn around.

Top performers 

Ben Gold had several opportunities to shine as a young Tall Black with a promising future or to make use of Pero Cameron during the NZL vs. JOR matchup. His final stat line read 15 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks, one of which was a highlight-reject that was quickly turned into points on the other end thanks to a help from Gold. 

Vasiljevic only scored two points in the first half of Australia vs. Iran, following a game in which he scored 22 points against Bahrain. Before anyone could say that the sharpshooter was in a funk, he scored 21 points in the second half. He would score 23 points in total during the contest.

The truth to the matter

NZL versus JOR: New Zealand scored a whopping 57 points off the bench because they were able to rotate their players about the floor more freely after jumping out to a strong early lead. Jordan already played without Ahmad Al Dwairi, so they didn’t have as much depth as they typically would have, and their substitutes only contributed 15 points to the final score. 

Australia vs. IRI: Despite the early-game scare of an upset, Australia was simply more effective at scoring the basketball in this game. They made significantly more free throws (81.8 percent) and shot much better from beyond (42.9 percent to 24 percent).

To sum it all up

With 8 victories in a row, the two unbeaten teams in the Asian Qualifiers maintain their perfect records. They will now simply have to wait for the outcomes of the games that are still left in this window to determine if they can already seal World Cup qualification. 

While Australia will support Bahrain to upset China in the final game of the day, Lebanon will be rooting for the Philippines to defeat Saudi Arabia.

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