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Iran crush Korea for Group F top seed
Unlike previous games where it seemed like any shot they threw up went in, Korea could not get their game going against the hosts. Coach Hur Jae’s wards shot a meager 24% from the field, and the Iranians were all too happy to exploit the Koreans’ misfortunes. Iran went on a tear in the first period, 26-4, and that set the tone for the unexpected blowout. Hamed Haddadi led the hosts in scoring, with all but two Iranians fielded in able to score at least 2 points.
Turning Point: It was all Iran from the tip to the final buzzer. Team Melli scored the first 14 points of the contest, and that just took the fight out of the Koreans, who just couldn’t get any semblance of rhythm and momentum. Iran’s lead was as high as 44 points.
Stats Don't Lie: Prior to this game, Korea were shooting 49.6% from the field and 44.5% from beyond the arc, but those numbers have nosedived because of their anemic shooting display. Nearly nobody could get anything going for coach Hur. Star players Kim SunHyung, Cho SungMin and Lee SeoungHyun combined to shoot 3-of-23 from the floor, and third-string center Choi BukYung ended up pacing them in scoring with 15 points on 4-of-9 shooting.
Game Hero: Haddadi was unstoppable. He followed up his monster game against Japan with another beastly outing here. The 2.18 behemoth unloaded 29 points on the hapless Koreans while also hauling down 10 rebounds and blocking 2 shots. He seems to be peaking at the right time for the home team.
The Bottom Line: To see Iran win was not unexpected, but to see Korea play this badly was unprecedented. This is exactly the kind of victory that will make Iran even more of an indomitable force in the next round, but, on the other end, it’s the kind of result that exposes all the vulnerabilities of Korea. Iran should head into their Quarter-Final match with India brimming with confidence, while Korea hope they can quickly forget this embarrassing defeat and bounce back against East Asian rivals Chinese Taipei.