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15 Mohammed Al-khafaji (IRQ)
Game Report
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Iraq book emphatic win over Thailand

TEHRAN (FIBA Asia Challenge 2016) – Iraq ended their group stage on a high note with an emphatic win over also-ran Thailand, 102-69, at the FIBA Asia Challenge 2016 in Tehran, Iran.

Kevin Galloway was just all over the place in this match, controlling the game on both ends to lead Iraq to their second win in five outings. Dhulfiqar Al-Hchaimi and Mohammed Al-Khafaji also did well for coach Srdjan Antic, whose wards are virtually assured of a spot in the Quarter-Finals unless Qatar blow Japan out big time.

Turning Point: Thailand led by 5 points early in the first quarter, but they couldn’t do anything when Iraq flipped the switch and turned on the jets. The West Asian side closed the first period up by 9 and extended this to 15 points at halftime. It was all Iraq from there as Thailand could not make any headway.

Stats Don't Lie: Iraq shone in practically all statistical categories. They outrebounded Thailand, 57-34, had more assists, steals and blocked shots. Thailand were also forced to commit 20 turnovers, while Iraq frolicked in transition with 26 fast break points. It just could not get any more one-sided.

Game Hero: Galloway put his stamp on this game in pretty much every way imaginable. The naturalized American exploded for 37 points on 18-of-28 field goal shooting, though he missed all six of his three-pointers. He made up for this by grabbing 13 rebounds, handing out 5 assists, getting 3 steals and blocking 2 shots. If Galloway can be consistent with this sort of production, Iraq may be able to pull off an upset or two in the next rounds.

The Bottom Line: Iraq now have one foot in the door after they got their second win. Only a win by Qatar over Japan via a huge margin can complicate things. If Iraq does advance, they cannot be overlooked by any team they face. On the other end, Thailand leave Tehran winless, although they should bring home some shining moments they can use to build up their confidence for the future.