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Jordan complete Semi-Finals cast after eliminating Japan
TEHRAN (FIBA Asia Challenge 2016) – Dar Tucker played splendidly anew as Jordan entered the Semi-Finals after eliminating Japan, 87-80, in the Quarter-Finals of FIBA Asia Challenge 2016 in Tehran, Iran.
Tucker was an all-around whirlwind again for Al Nashama, which booked their fifth win in a row after losing on Day 1 to China. Japan led after one quarter in this contest before Jordan turned the tables in the second period and permanently held on to the momentum till the end. Tucker’s backcourt partner, Mousa Al-Awadi, also impressed with 23 points on 7-of-15 field goal shooting, including 3 triples, while Japan were paced by Makoto Hiejima and Ira Brown, both of whom scored 17 points.
Turning Point: Japan had the momentum early in this game and last led by 7 points, 41-34, midway through the second quarter. Tucker and Al-Awadi, however, paired up for an 11-0 run to close the first half and give Jordan the advantage, 45-41, heading into the break. When play resumed in the third period, Jordan continued to pay strong on both ends, and they never relinquished the lead.
Stats Don't Lie: Japan turned the ball over just 13 times, which does not seem like a very bad number till one considers that Jordan pounced on almost every single one to score 21 points off these Japanese errors. In the end, that’s what really did the Akatsuki Five in, and not even the hustle and effort of Hiejima and Brown could salvage the game.
Game Hero: Tucker held true to his being the tournament’s current leading scorer by dropping 33 points on the strength of three triples. He also flirted with a triple-double, hauling down 9 rebounds and handing out 7 assists in a scintillating display of versatility. It will interesting to see if he can still dominate like this against hosts Iran tomorrow.
The Bottom Line: Iran may be unbeaten so far, but it seems like Jordan are the hottest squad in the competition at this very moment. Coach Sam Daghlas has preached composure to his team, and they have responded with aplomb. Japan, meanwhile, now have to scramble as they need to beat India tomorrow and prevail again on Sunday to finish among the top five and earn for East Asia another additional berth in the FIBA Asia Cup 2017.